I’ve been thinking a lot about friends lately. Old friends, new friends, the best friend I had in elementary school, the best friend I had in junior high and high school. And best friends after that. But of course, after you graduate school, you don’t really have just one best friend anymore. At least, I didn’t. I had different best friends for different reasons. Different occasions. And they all came from different groups, different parts of my life, in different times of my life. I never thought about the older friends as not really being my best friend anymore. I just started wording it differently. “One of my best friends”.
I started categorizing them: Current best friend that lives near me and I talk to on a daily basis. Best friend from high school. Old roommate that I will always love, even though I know every single one of her quirks, and she knows mine (yipes). Best friend that I had when I lived in a different city and we only email each other a couple times a year now, but she still holds a special place in my heart.
I think everyone goes through friend lulls. Where you move, or start a new job, or make another huge life change, and your friends shift a bit. Or a lot. And you’re in the market for a new, Current Best Friend. Well, how the heck do you do this?
You could be like me and just wait until someone falls in your lap and cross your fingers that it’s going to be a good one. Or you could do something different…
DATE a Potential Best Friend.
This is serious business, folks! You can’t just wait for a best friend to come along! You can’t be timid, and just be stoked the cool girl is talking to you. You need to act like YOU are that cool girl (because you probably are and just don’t realize it), you need to scour the earth for a girl that puts a twinkle in your eye, and you need to pursue the heck outta her!
Here’s my plan:
When I meet someone that I think could be Potential Best Friend material, I’m going for it. I’m not going to sit at home and stare at my phone, hoping she’ll call, even though I never gave her my phone number. I’m going to right off the bat invite her out for a drink. Yeah, I said it. A drink! (if she doesn’t drink, she’s no bestie material, let’s face it.) None of this coffee business, I’m going straight for the gullet. (is that even a phrase?) Just me and her. A real live date. We can talk one on one, get to know each other a bit, see if we click. We might not click. If we don’t, there will most likely not be Potential Best Friend Date #2. Sure, there will be group events and random texts and stuff, but I don’t want to be best friends with people that just aren’t ME. You know? Not a part of my tribe. Just because they want to, doesn’t mean I have to go for it.
Please don’t confuse this as being mean to people, that’s not what I’m saying. We’re talking Best Friend here, one that you ugly cry in front of, tell all your dirty secrets to, and dance hard, dressed up like Madonna circa Like a Virgin era in the living room with. Best Friend material is precious! You know this. I know this. We need to treat this seriously. And start dating potential besties.
“But what will we talk about on our first date? What if we run out of things to say?” Good question! Here are some talking points that might help you. Feel free to write them on your hand and hope you don’t sweat the ink off.
- What cities have you lived in? Which was your favorite and why?
- If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would it be, and what would you do there?
- What is your spirit animal? (mine’s booze.)
- What is your dream career? (if she’s already in it, get her talking about it)
- What the heck is that chick wearing over there?
- Want another drink? (only if things are going well)
- Check please! (if it’s not)
- Do you have kids? / Tell me about your kids? / Do you want kids? / Wanna hear about my cats? No? Okay, never mind (then go to #7 immediately)
- Tell me about some bands/musicians that you like.
These are just some starters for you. I suggest you start out by making your own list of qualities that are important in your Potential Best Friend. Perhaps one of these would be on your list:
- Good sense of humor (aka laughs at everything you say)
- Dresses well (what? perhaps you’re a bit superficial, like I am)
- Has kids / doesn’t have kids (this could be a deal breaker for someone, either way)
- Has some things in common with you (for instance, I would like someone that’s creative)
- Someone that inspires you, nudges you out of your comfort zone
Again, just some suggested qualities. But make your own list. Jot it down. Put it on the fridge. Or stick it in your Google Drive on your phone, so when you meet someone new you can quickly glance at it and see if that person truly is a Potential Best Friend or not.
I really think I’m onto something, you guys.
// above photo of my best friend Lucy and I at Del Mar Fair in 1990. Beeker & Animal 4Ever!