Blank Paper Friendships

Growing up, one of my best friends lived next door. On weekends when we woke up we’d post a blank piece of paper in our windows, a sign from one to the other that we were awake and open for business. This would lead to elaborate pancake breakfasts or TV marathons or embittered fights over Barbie dresses, and left no room for boredom in our days.

Well, at 24, weekend boredom has finally managed to find me. Making paper-in-the-window friendships in a city far from home seems impossible. I have some fabulous friends, but that type of all-encompassing friendship is reserved for boyfriends and girlfriends and (gasp, we’re hitting that age) spouses. So when you lose a boyfriend you lose a best friend and well that just sucks. Because now no one comes over when I put the paper in the window.

Slowly friends of mine have moved to this west coast town and grand promises get made of hanging out and making new friends. Except everyone comes with a better half, and when plans and promises are made and I wind up getting left with a stack of paper and no plans. When I stay in it’s a hot date with a bottle of wine and episodes of Bob’s Burgers rather than sleepover style late night chats.

I don’t live with best friends, but roommates who all lead separate but intersecting lives. I don’t work at a large enough company to have a whole slew of work friends (though I appreciate the ones I have). My family, both biological and hand-selected, lives far away. When straws are drawn and people are filling cars and doling out tickets, I’m somehow just always a step behind. Essentially, I feel like a 7th grader with taxes and a full-time job.

Lest this become a Thought Catalog think piece on friendship as an adult, it’s worth noting that I think a lot of my issues are very particular to me. It’s likely that my anxiety prevents me from pursuing normal friendly interactions for fear of seeming pushy or forward. It’s probable that my awkward jokes and self-deprecation turn some people off to the idea entirely. It’s true that people think my extroversion means I have a bevy of besties lined up at my disposal—I’ve been told as much.

And I do have some of the most incredible friendships a person could ask for. They’re friends who would drop anything to help you, the kind you can get drunk and embarrass yourself with (sorry for throwing up in your bathroom, Beth!) or cry to over Skype. They simply happen to be scattered across the globe, or lucky enough to have a best friend (of the spousal variety) in even closer proximity.

So what are the options? Well it’s late on a Sunday night so I’m certain I don’t have any revolutionary ideas to throw out short of packing up a suitcase and traveling city by city until I’ve seen all my people. Instead I’m going to send goofy snapchats to one of my childhood friends, send texts to another, and leave you with a few of my top books, movies and shows about the kind of paper-in-the-window friendships I have been lucky enough to find along the way.

  1. Now & Then: One of my favorite movies on female friendships and definitely the best cliched stolen clothes scene in any movie.
  2. Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals: I spent one St. Patty’s Day watching this and telling everyone who would listen how we should all be as lucky as Magic & Bird to have a rivalry spawn a beautiful friendship. I was very drunk. Watch this.
  3. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach: I recommend this book so often, but the friendships & rivalries in it (common theme here I guess) stuck with me in a way few other books have in my short time as an “adult.”
  4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Zero shame in admitting I’m rewatching this show right now (or rather, picking up where the ex & I left off in the series), and the adventures of the Scooby Gang get me every time.
Just a few of the sassy people I miss

Just a few of the sassy people I miss

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