Dear readers –
Today has been a good day. I do not, per se, have a cat who routinely defecates on the study floor, regardless of the cleanliness levels of her litter box, the type of litter used, the depth of the litter, the location of the litterbox, or the location of food near her preferred pooping non-litterbox-location… but if I did have such a hypothetical cat, we could all rejoice in the fact that there was no hypothetical (or actual!) poop on the floor when I hypothetically got home. Hooray!
Cat poop, however, is not what I want to talk about – I do that all day at work (seriously, I spend a lot of time talking about poop professionally). What I want to talk about is friends.
When Turtle and I met, we both had a really solid group of friends. Well, she had a group, I had some really close relationships with several different people who didn’t really know or weren’t that close to each other. I’ve never been a “friends group” kind of person – I’m more of a one-on-one kind of person, just with lots of different people. Or something.
Anyway, when we first started dating, we drifted a little from our friends. I think that this is normal – you meet someone, you fall hard, you spend all your free time with them instead of with the people you would otherwise be spending time with… normal, right? And then you re-establish the bonds with those friends, and with new friends, as you settle into your relationship, and you make friends, often, as a couple.
I think I kind of suck at this. Friends, I am so, so sorry.
It’s not too hard to keep your friends when you work with them. You can take a coffee break and chat in the office, you can go out for lunch, you can grab a drink after work – but if you stop working there, it starts taking more effort. And – duh – it’s easy to have friends in college, especially when you live with them; but when they move to stupid New York City for stupid law school or move to stupid Colorado for stupid grad school (yeah, you guys know I’m talking to you!) or just live all the way two towns away, it takes work! And sometimes I suck at work. Sometimes we all suck at work.
When Turtle and I did our fancy little pre-marital worksheet together, one of the things we both said needed “much” development was our friendships. We have become very insular. We are both people who very much prefer staying in and reading or watching TV or playing board games to going out to a party on a Friday night. We are tired on a Friday night! But this, dear readers, is not conducive to maintaining friendships.
Some people with whom I am very close are going through a really hard time right now, and I, in turn, am struggling a little bit. Now is the time when I am leaning heavily on the wonderful woman who is going to promise to do all the good stuff and the bad stuff and the hard stuff and the *work* with me for always, and she is doing a fantastic job practicing (well, not practicing, this is the real thing – you know what I mean). But the thing is, now is also the time when I need my friends. And my friends have appeared, ready to help, ready to talk; we’re setting up coffee dates and video chats and sending emails.
I think that being a good friend sometimes takes more patience than being a good partner, and sometimes takes more work – and on top of that, I think it can take awhile to realize that friendships are work (but good work!). Here we are, entering this marriage, knowing that it is work to be a girlfriend, a fiancee, a wife… but the thing is, it’s work to be in any relationship, including friendships.
I’m realizing this cool thing – if you reach out, people reach back; if you tell people you care about them, they’ll let you know they care about you too! And this is something that is so worth remembering when things aren’t hard, when I’m not struggling – but it is the struggle that emphasizes the importance of all of you. So thank you to everyone who has checked in, emailed, told me it’s going to all work out, and thank you to everyone who still cares about me even if I suck at answering my phone and listening to voicemails and I return your phone call after you’ve already been on the second date and I missed the first one. I’m working on it.
So say hi, okay? Okay.