Responsibility — What’s that?

February 10, 2014 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Friends Then and Now, Life and Living, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Growing up, I was never much of a trouble-maker.  I was certainly not a goody-two-shoes, but I was never sent to the Principal’s office, never grounded, and never arrested.  I found the balance in having fun without completely breaking the rules.  Sure I trespassed, cut class, snuck out of the house, drank underage and all the typical stuff, but I typically did what was expected of me — I was an Honor Roll and AP student.  I also had fairly lenient parents who were more likely to make me feel guilty than to punish me.  Disappointing them and telling them when I was in trouble was always much worse than any punishment was.

I think this is why I had a great reputation with my friends’ parents.  Many of my friends would often use me as their safeguard when they wanted to go out and do something their parents didn’t approve of, whether it was staying over at a boyfriend’s house or going to a club.  I was mostly open and honest with my parents about my activities, so I had few restrictions as long as I was careful. For my friends, they needed someone their parents could trust to help them save face.  I became that person early on — the “responsible” one.  My friends may find this laughable, but I was playing a good game.

When I got to college, I was fairly advanced in terms of teenage vices.  While several of my new friends had not yet drank or been intimately active, I was ahead of the curve.  I wasn’t an expert drinker in the least but I was always very good and pretending to be sober when I needed to.  I could hold myself together pretty well. I had learned early on from my mistakes.

These skills have come in handy throughout my life, and to this day when I go out, I always know when it’s time to go.  But responsibility only gets you so far when others are involved. Somehow others have not developed this same sense.  In my mind, nothing good happens in a bar after 3 am.  This is when all inhibitions are lost and if you are lucky the worst that happens is you end up in the bed of a guy who has a giant tattoo on his back that you somehow didn’t notice the night before.  But the outcome could be much worse than that.

I may sound like an old person when I say this, but look how long I’ve survived.  There is definitely a way to balance being wild and adventurous with a sense of responsibility.  Maybe one day others will catch on, but maybe not.  Whatever works for them, but I’m happy to play the role of the “responsible one.”

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The Importance of the Friend Zone

September 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Posted in Friends Then and Now, Relationship Woes | Leave a comment

The friend zone gets a really bad rep. It is generally assumed that if you are in the friend zone that there is no chance at anything more with the person who put you there. But I am here to advocate for the friend zone and what it can do to make relationships more meaningful.

When you become friends with someone, it is very similar to being interested in someone romantically. There is this connection you feel, this instant attraction and curiosity to learn something more about this person. What is he or she all about? What can I learn from this person? What can I teach him or her? Will he or she get my jokes? Are we into similar things? Can we have fun together? Can I trust him or her?

The qualities you look for in a friend are very similar to the qualities you look for in a romantic interest, because if you want that romantic interest to develop into something more than just a physical attraction, it helps to have a foundation of friendship, because romance changes, chemistry changes, love changes. There will be times where you hate each other, but if you have the foundation of friendship you won’t lose love.

My husband and I were friends and coworkers when we first met. I won’t lie that there was an immediate attraction, but I was in a long term committed relationship that I wasn’t ready to let go of, and we worked together and wanted to keep things professional, so we friend-zoned each other for 2 years. We developed a great relationship with long talks about people he dated and other relationship type stuff, as well as things about our families, our interests, our friends. We developed a great group of mutual friends and started meeting each other’s non-work friends.

Fast forward 8 years and here we are, married. It’s not perfect, I won’t lie. But I know him and he knows me, and when we hate each other, we still love each other, and no matter what, we will always be friends first.

So as the world becomes more and more disconnected from each other; as more interactions take place virtually, as more people meet on line, I say this.  Meet people. Make friends. Look at the friends you have and why they are your friends.  We are all adults now. Who’s to say a friendship can’t evolve?  Sometimes, it is worth the risk for the possibility of finding something even greater.

A 30th Birthday Done Right

August 21, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Posted in Friends Then and Now, Life and Living | 1 Comment
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Surprise parties are not easy things to pull off, especially when it’s for your best friend.  How can you go without telling the one person who knows everything about your life about the biggest and most exciting thing you have in store for them?  It’s not easy, and as I planned for my best friend’s 30th, my limits were tested over and over again, but somehow, miracle of miracles, we pulled it off, and the long weekend will go down in our personal histories as one of our greatest memories.  We will be talking about that trip when we are in rocking chairs on porches knitting or crochetting, or whatever stereotypical activity we end up participating in when we are old and grey.

And I couldn’t have done it alone.  I couldn’t hold that secret all to myself. I had fellow planners, and many friends who knew about the trip and didn’t say a word. I am very grateful for that.  One of my good friends and fellow planners really stepped it up.  Surprising my best friend with a trip to somewhere she always wanted to go (it was on her  to-do list, which I have been diligently following so I can be part of her memories), wasn’t enough.  I had to up the ante.  I showed up to her home in Boston unannounced, with my amazing friend keeping her busy packing things she didn’t need for hours before my arrival.  My surprise visit was even more surprising than the location of our trip.

The next day, we headed off to Montreal, four of us girls. Three of us had been before, (the other 2 were regulars) but the birthday girl had not been, and the four of us have not traveled all together before.  We explored this beautiful city and laughed together the way only four close girl friends could.  These ladies have been close to my heart four the past 12 years, back when we all attended college together, had dinner together each night, came of age, if you will, together, and now, the last of us was turning 30, and when the clock struck midnight on her day, it was almost magical how the night just took off.

I am so grateful to have friends like these girls, reasons to celebrate and enjoy life.  I am grateful that we have decided to embrace life and all the great activities it has to offer. I am grateful for the laughs, the good company, and the love I receive and can give to these girls.  I am grateful that we’ve been through so much together and 12 years later we are still close.

And it’s because of friends like these that will do just about anything to make each other smile, that I don’t fear growing old.  I look forward to laughing with them all the way into the afterlife.

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