Life needs more gabbing with girlfriends over hot beverages

Posted: May 29, 2015 by Rachel

I recently began spending time with a new friend. How we ever came to be introduced has escaped me now (she’s likely a friend of a friend of my husbands, or something like that), but that’s beyond the point, anyways.

The first time we hung out together we went to dinner; two hours of filling ourselves with sushi and easy conversation. After the second time we went out, a week later, for coffee, I went home to my husband, excited.

“I feel like I’m back in the dating days, and I’ve just come home from a really great second date where you realize you could really see something with this person.”

“I feel like she probably needs a good friend even more than you do.”

“I feel really bad for her if that’s true,” I said, but the truth is that I hoped he was right. I hoped that she drove home from our mid-day coffee feeling like she had found a friend that she could really spend time with, really confide in, the way I did.

Over coffee she told me, among other things, that she was meeting a new friend for dinner that night. I felt instantly jealous, like I was already losing her friendship to someone else. She told me only that she seemed “quirky,” leaving the rest to my imagination.

When her name popped up my iPhone screen later that night I practically leapt up to get it. She had just returned from dinner, reciting something a little funny and a little silly that had happened.  I immediately texted back.

Too funny. Otherwise, how was it? New best friend?

My heart was pounding. I’d been in this city for four years and while I had met some truly lovely people, I had yet to build a friendship even remotely close to the ones I had left behind when I moved. Laura was the only one who I felt could possibly fill this emptiness.

I stick to my original statement, she said, but the food was good.

In reality, even if she had a great time with this other person, it didn’t mean that we couldn’t develop a real friendship. Still, I felt only nervousness.

Not everyone can be as awesome as us, I texted back. What I was really saying was: please see something awesome in me. Please please please.

A truer statement may never have been uttered, she responded, and I thought: I’ll take it.

It meant I wasn’t being replaced before our friendship had really even gotten off the ground. It meant I wasn’t being looked over the way I had so many times in my past. It meant I still had time.

It meant more coffee dates, and if there’s one thing life needs, it’s more time gabbing with girlfriends over hot beverages.

I’m looking for Real Friendship, capital R capital F.

Posted: February 23, 2015 by Rachel

Flickr /  shhh, it’s a  secret

As I write this, I’m sitting in the corner of a coffee shop I’ve never been to, waiting for a woman I’ve never met to walk through the door. Because I’m a chronic worry wart, I’ve arrived early (twenty minutes, just in case she is ten minutes early), so that I can order my coffee and settle in before she arrives.

This is the first time I’ve reached out to someone online and made plans to meet them in person. I feel as though I’m meeting a potential mate that I’ve sourced through a dating website. Actually, the process of making new friends at my age is kind of like the beginning stages of dating. At least for me it is.

What’s running through my mind is: what if I bore her? What if we find we have nothing in common and the conversation suffers? What do I really even know about her beyond the few things I could decipher from her instagram feed? She has a son, like me. She enjoys knitting, like I do. She lives in Las Vegas and is a health coach. These four things are all that I know about her, and so as I sip on my too-hot, too-strong coffee, my nerves kick into overdrive and I find myself sweating through the navy blue, v-neck tee I chose for the occasion.

Meeting new people in your early thirties is so different than when you’re younger. The stakes are higher now. You don’t want to waste your time with someone who doesn’t share any common interests, or who isn’t looking for the same level of commitment as you are.

There I go again sounding like I’m looking to date this woman.

Let me expand.

I am thirty years old, married with an almost two year old son. When I moved to Las Vegas in January of 2011, I left behind a small group of amazing girlfriends. At this point in my life, I’m looking for people who want to form a real friendship, individuals whom I can relate to, respect, look up to, and find inspiration from. Is this a tall order? Yes and no.

In retrospect, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for. The real issue I’m finding is that women my age aren’t necessarily looking to form a Great New Friendship. They already have a group of friends who fill this role and many others. So when I do meet someone new, I’m often relegated to the Casual Friend category. You know what I mean: the friend of a friend who you only see when a big group of girls get together. The friend whose number you somehow have in your contacts, but you never really text her. You don’t think of her that often because you’re busy, or you have other friends with whom you spend a lot of your time.

I’m looking for a Real Friendship, capitals necessary. And so, when the woman I’ve been waiting for walks through the coffee shop door, I realize just how high my hopes are. I also silently acknowledge that she has no idea just how much hope I am projecting on to this meeting. I make a mental note to chill the hell out.

As I already have my coffee, she heads over to the counter and orders a hot chocolate, and I realize that I like her already. Any thirty-one year old woman who can order a hot chocolate with a straight face is the kind of person I want to spend my time with.

She sits down in the red arm chair across from me and smiles. I think we’re both a little nervous, but that could just be me projecting. I ask her how her day has been so far.

What transpires is that over the next hour and a half we talk about our lives, our kids, our jobs, hopes and dreams. With every minute that passes, I feel a little more comfortable and I open up more.

That she is the first one to say: we should do this again soon, fills me with hope. For the first time, I think: maybe she is in the same situation as I am: craving new friendships but having a hard time finding them. Perhaps she, like me, is also looking for something Real.

I suppose that at this point I can only hope, and only time will tell.