It was only a lunch date and, yet, I’ve had an epiphany.
Friendships have become work.
When did this happen? Having friends wasn’t a tremendous effort in high school. Or university. They were there. They were in your classes, in your dorm, your apartment building and all the nearby bars. Okay, you were kind of thrown together whether you liked it or not, but there was always someone around to click with. Living up north, just graduated, it didn’t seem that difficult either – but, there, everyone was from somewhere else and, as a result, the entire community was incredibly inclusive. You had to work really hard to not go out every Friday and Saturday night.
But now? Though I’m hardly the hardcore, partying extrovert, through my job hopping days I’ve accumulated a small list of people that I’d like to think I’m friends with, but rarely have time to see and speak with mostly through brief, mutually apologetic emails. we really should get together. sorry, this weekend is busy – what about next month? Really, how difficult should this be?
I met a friend and former colleague for lunch today – she fit me in between meetings – despite the fact that we’ve been trying to figure something out for months. Her kids are sick, I’m out of town, she’s implementing a new protocol at work, etc, etc. Another friend, I have to try and connect with once I get back to work: she works nearby. Two more friends from high school are each moving and it is only that looming separation that has kicked our collective asses and made us get together.
Maybe it’s an extension of the big city anonymity – not chatting up people in the street, the bus, the coffee shop, extends into everyday life – or maybe we are all really that busy.
Regardless, I do know what I have to do: stop trying to arrange my dates through back and forth emails, get my butt offline and just pick up the phone. If we can’t nail down a lunch hour for a face to face conversation, we can at least have a quick chat.
And that’s gotta count for something in a friendship.