It is safe to say that both Tanner and I harbor somewhat of a hibernation streak. Given our druthers—no matter how much we exhort ourselves to be social—we tend to stay in. And, well, why wouldn’t we? We think (although not everybody might agree) that our apartment is charming; we have over 600 books, many of which neither of us have read and thus must start reading, and (especially given that we’re separated all weekday long), we don’t have nearly enough time to chat with each other during the week. Plus, we’re creatures of habit, and in my mind, it’s hard to beat our routine night: cooking an interesting meal together, eating it at our nice kitchen table while we watch passersby walk to and fro the elevator, chatting, watching the lights twinkle in our specially designed wine bottles, working on blog posts or other writing projects, going for midnight strolls around the neighborhood, reading a book, and then curling up together in bed. It just doesn’t get much better than that, right? At least we don’t think so.
Truth be told, even if we wanted to go out to parties and gatherings in Baltimore, we would have nowhere to go, as we have no friends. For some reason, this still surprises me. When I moved back East from Iowa, it didn’t really dawn on me that we’d have to make friends. I thought I would just come back home and rejoin all of my college friends living in DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and so on. I knew we were still living pretty far apart, but I thought we would still be able to get together routinely enough to satisfy us, while still leaving us with plenty of time for our routine nights in. Instead, we’re lucky if we can see our friends every other month. Each get together is an intensely planned, and in many instances, complicated, event. A friend popping over for dinner (my favorite social activity) is a rare occurrence, indeed.
That being said, we had much time to travel and visit with family and friends throughout this past holiday season. Not only did we spend copious amounts of time with them, we also heard a lot from our college friends who are busy navigating the travails of moving to new cities, making new friends, and enjoying a social life outside the parameters of a college or university campus. One of my friends is roommates with a friend she met at work after college; another lives with her significant other and hosts weekly potluck dinners for the entire neighborhood; others meet routinely for football games; still others find and maintain friendships through group activities (choirs, improv groups, running clubs, and so on). I learned a lot about making friends by chatting with them.
The point of all of this is just to say that throughout the fall, and most definitively during the holiday season, as much as I loved hanging out with my college friends and Tanner’s college friends, I realized that it’s important for Tanner and me to find new, “couple” friends. If all of my friends are doing it, why can’t we?
Allow me to put forth four reasons why our next project is to find these couple friends, and why it’s unsustainable to have, as your only source of social activity, friends who live more than an hour away:
First and foremost: no matter how enjoyable the visit is, if you’re having friends stay for the entire weekend (as almost always happens when friends visit from afar), it’s a little exhausting. You stay up late and get up early each day of the visit, in order to maximize the time spent together. Come Monday morning, it’s ridiculously hard to get out of bed, and the upcoming week is somewhat of a disaster. This, I think, is especially symptomatic of the five day workweek, and comes back to our hibernating tendencies. One of my absolute favorite activities in the world is lounging in bed, until an hour that’s far too late, on Saturdays and Sundays. We get up absurdly early during the week, so those late mornings are necessary for chats and rolling over and going back to sleep and so on and so forth. As far as I’m concerned, they rejuvenate us for the week ahead. Yet when we have friends over, the last thing I want to do is lounge in bed and waste the time we have. But going two full work weeks—ten days—without our lay-ins is nigh unsustainable, both physically, as we’re utterly exhausted, and mentally, as there is no better forum for chatting than a weekend morning in bed.
Second: it’s far harder than I thought it would be for Tanner and me to “share” our friends. Whenever my college friends and I get together, we spend a lot of time gossiping about people that Tanner doesn’t know, while reverting to the roles we played and characters we were in college. Because of this, it’s difficult for Tanner to break into our conversations. It’s the same for me when I’m with his friends. Moreover, there is always the penchant for both of us to find the flaws in each other’s friends—flaws that the other has long since learned to overlook due to the long and lasting friendship and the many other positive attributes the person possesses (there is, I think, some truth to the idea that nobody knows why they pick the friends they do, at the time, but once they’ve picked them, and especially if they pick them at a pivotal stage in life, they tend to stick by them). Lastly, there’s the nagging problem that arises when whichever one of us is the one visiting with friends spends too much time worrying about how we’re coping with the situation instead of just enjoying their company.
Third: several evenings ago, the water in our building went out. As far as we knew, it was going to be out until the next afternoon. In situations such as this, it’s opportune to have a good friend nearby who will let you shower and fill up your water bottle.
Fourth and lastly: it’s hard to overestimate how great it is to have friends. Couldn’t having a Wednesday night dinner party be a great way to break up the week? Isn’t it fun to have friends over Sunday afternoon for chili and football (and who then leave at a reasonable hour)? Being with our old friends over the holidays made me realize just how great it can be to have friends. We need more, and new, friends in our lives (after all, we’re really starting to get good at cooking).
Thus, we’ve resolved to make friends, here at home—hibernation tendencies be damned. So far in January, we attempted, on two separate occasions, to crash a few social gatherings (helpfully put on by a church nearby). Both occasions failed spectacularly (once we had the wrong date; the second time we had the wrong time). But we’re not giving up just yet.