I have a friend back home. Back home, which isn’t really my home anymore, especially since I moved to another state. Thankfully, she’s also my friend when I’m not back home. That’s because we both keep showing up.
Friendship is a tricky business. First, you have to meet people. That usually involves leaving the house, which is complete and utter nonsense.
Sure, you can meet friends online, but is @toosexyformyshirtXXX going to be able to come over and drink mimosas with you when you need to shit talk on a random Thursday morning if they live in Saskatchewan?
I mean, I guess they could if you live in Saskatchewan. But you don’t live in Saskatchewan. No one lives in Saskatchewan except for @toosexyformyshirtXXX and their mother, whose basement they are currently living in rent free.
Then, after you leave the house you have to MEET PEOPLE, which is horrifying and terrifying and goes against everything I believe in. But you have to do it, otherwise you end up living in your mother’s basement in Saskatchewan.
And even after you’ve gone to all the trouble of leaving the house, which involves wearing things other than pajamas, and meeting actual human people that you can physically touch with your own two hands, but please don’t touch them because that’s very creepy and gross, you have to GET TO KNOW THEM. Is it getting hot in here? Because I’m sweating.
Getting to know them involves CONVERSATION. I don’t know if you know this, but conversation is hard because you can’t just dump it all out there. You have to lean in softly with the pleasantries and the small talk. You have to talk about the weather and sports! I think. I don’t know. I suck at conversation.
Then, when you’ve endured the agony of small talk and you’ve had a little time to feel the person out, NOT THAT KIND OF FEEL, you have to assess whether or not they are your kind of people so you can go in with the real talk. Real talk may include, but is not limited to, music preferences, junk food preferences, trash television preferences, and general serial killer trivia.
Once you have determined that they are your kind of people you have to keep meeting them and talking to them to make absolutely sure that they are your kind of people. You have to sometimes double and triple check these things because sure, they say they like to watch Real Housewives of New Jersey, but do they know all the words to Milania Giudice’s autotuned-to-death masterpiece, I Can’t Wait to Grow Up? That’s the kind of stuff you find out when you show up.
That friend I was telling you about, the one back home, she’s busy. You’re busy, too. I’m busy. We’re all busy. Like most of us, she has a family, she works, volunteers at her church, she’s penciled in pretty much everywhere. But she shows up. And so do I.
I’m busy too. Yes, I’m busy trying to memorize the lyrics to I Can’t Wait to Grow Up so I have a litmus test all ready to go in case I meet someone new, but I’m also busy with all the things you’re busy with. Work, kids, and vacuuming up dog hair. And I feel overwhelmed all the time, but when she shows up, I have to too.
We see each other usually once a year. We try to squeak in a phone call once or twice a month. Texts happen whenever we can make the other one laugh. And when I fail to show up, I let her know why. Sorry I missed your call, I was rage eating a bag of potato chips and couldn’t hear the phone ring.
Showing up is hard. I’ll be the first to admit it. Life gets in the way. Sometimes there are physical and mental health obstacles in the way. Sometimes you just don’t wanna. But you gotta, even if it’s in small ways. You have to continually offer your friendship a space to grow.
Showing up is hard, but it’s also the easiest part of the process. You got out of your pajamas, left the house!, and small talked so well that you didn’t scare them off. THIS IS THE GRAVY! This is the part where you get to be you and they get to be them. And there are moments where you’re an us and it’s glorious. Downright freaking spectacular, people.
And the showing up doesn’t have to be fancy. No ballgowns are required, unless your last name is Carrington. Oh dear, I’ve confused the millennials. You’re not barred from wearing ballgowns, by any means, but you don’t have to go above and beyond. Showing up shouldn’t be a chore.
If showing up is a chore, it’s time to reassess. Reassess you. Reassess the friendship. Have you ever noticed that reassess is spelled like re-asses? No? Just me, huh? Okay.
But anyway, this blog post is actually a really involved way to show up for that friend I told you about, the one back home, the one that shows up even though she’s busy. She called me a few days ago and I didn’t answer, nor did I explain why I didn’t answer, mostly because I forgot she called me until today.
Jen, thanks for putting on pants and leaving the house, meeting me, having small talk with me until we figured out we were our kind of people. And mostly, thank you for showing up. I know it’s not easy and I’m so glad that you try.
See, that wasn’t even really that hard, was it? I didn’t even have to wear a ballgown. Hell, I don’t even have pants on right now. But I did it, I showed up. Now it’s your turn to show up and make a place for your us.