Friendship and The People You Meet

I can count on five hands, NOT fingers, how many friends I have. Yes, I thankfully have a lot of nice friends, and they run in many different circles. So much so, that when it’s my birthday, we’re either a ton of people, or I opt to do absolutely nothing, since I never know where or whom to cut.

I have friends that we socialize with as married couples, I have friends separate from my husband, I have divorced friends, unmarried friends, all sorts of girlfriends. I always have, and I know where it stems from.  I grew up an only child, and always compensated for that sibling loneliness by surrounding myself with a lot of friends.

However, with all these incredible women in my life, I can only count on ONE hand, my truest of the true friends. Friends I could call at 3am if I were in real trouble, and they would give me the shirt off their back, the food from their mouth, the shoes on their feet.

I realized as I got older, it isn’t about the quantity, but rather the quality that counts.  It’s about who you’ve grown up with, and therefore share a deep connection with, but it’s equally about newer friends as well. It’s the whole package that enriches your life. It’s friends for a reason and a season, as I once blogged about. Friends you grow up with, friends you meet along the way through your kids, friends you meet online and then happen to meet in-real-life and love, friends you meet through carpool, or soccer practice, and then even strangers.

I had an incredible thing happen to me last week. Well, it didn’t really start off incredible, but the ending made me appreciative of one of my character traits… I’m simply always open. No matter what I believe to be true, I still live like a sponge, soaking up knowledge wherever possible.

Last week, my husband and I were scheduled to have a date night. The kids were sleeping out at my in-laws. We didn’t have to relieve a babysitter at the end of the night. We could sleep in the next morning. What a treat.

My hubby told me during the day he was going to be home from the office at 6:30PM, and then we would go. But then he called me at 6PM to tell me that his men were working late and he’d only be home around 7:30PM. If you know me and date night, you know I like to be AT dinner by 7PM, home by 9:15PM latest. The perfect night for someone who prefers to go to bed early, and wake up early. The perfect loser indeed.

Okay fine. 7:30PM dinner was still doable. I was all ready, and then got another call. “I can’t leave yet now either, I’m so sorry. Will you drive to my office (twenty minutes away), and we’ll go somewhere around here?” Now there’s one thing I don’t get about wives who complain about their husbands… If he’s out screwing around, or out every night gallivanting, that’s one thing.  But If he’s working to support our family, I have never, nor would I ever give him a hard time. I wasn’t happy about it, but complain to him I wouldn’t. That’s just cutting the hand that feeds you, no? It’s just not right.

So, being the supportive wife that I am, I agreed to drive to meet him, have my glass of wine and dinner near his office, and that would be a fine date night. I’m fifteen minutes into my drive and literally getting off at the exit, and my phone rings again, “Honey, did you leave yet? I’m not sure I can come. I still wanna wait it out a little. Maybe we should do it tomorrow.” Frustrated, I replied, “No. I’m here!”

I was starving and wasn’t going to turn around and drive back the twenty minutes. I had nothing prepared for dinner at this point either. He’ll show up for sure.  So, I went to the restaurant, and asked for a table for two. The restaurant was full. There was nothing available. They only had seats at the bar. I said yes, sat down, and waited for my husband. I was the only person there except for one man sitting next to me.

Then, another call, “It’s not happening. I just can’t leave.” There I was, alone, on my date night. Stood up. I started to cry. I just felt the craziness from the week had all been too much. The waitress asked me if she could do anything. I told her no. And if that wasn’t enough, the man sitting next to me, started hitting on me.  I kept giving him one-word answers, but we wasn’t taking the bloody hint.

Then, yay, two ladies walk in and sit down next to me at the bar. At this point, I’m drinking my Cabernet, sobbing into my arugula salad, and they smile at me. They ask me if I am okay. “I’ve been stood up by my working husband, and this guy next to me is giving me the creeps,” I replied. One of the ladies gives me a big smile, and says, “Well you’re with us now, girlfriend.”

And just like that, the three of us talked for an hour. We were like old friends. Talking about life, and children, and career, and sharing stories. One open woman, to the next. My husband called a few times and asked if I was okay. I told him I was just fine. One of the two ladies had just left her son’s high school graduation, and showed me the photos. “He’s out celebrating with his friends now. He doesn’t want his mom anymore,” she laughed.  And when I was done, I ordered my husband a pizza, the waitress told me my meal was taken care of  (hubby had phoned in his visa), and I drove around the corner to his office and brought him his dinner.

So why a whole long and drawn out story about meeting strangers and becoming friends? To remind you again, that friends come into your life for a reason and a season. To remind you about the importance of resilience. Maybe these women sat next to me as a distraction or to cheer me up, or maybe they were there as a sign to show me that I am stronger than I think.

But I sort of think the old saying goes in this case, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

What do you think? Do you have friends for a reason and a season? Are you still in touch with old friends? Have you ever turned a disappointing situation into something positive?  I’d love to hear from you.

xoxEDxox

8 Comments
  1. Great post Erica. You see you ended up having a girls night in the end! Not so bad. I am still in touch with many of ,my friends from high school. We’re a close bunch.

  2. I really enjoyed this blog. So many women would never talk to strangers or go sit alone at a restaurant because they are insecure. I think its comendable and you set a good example.

  3. It’s so funny that you wrote this blog now… I just returned from a visit to my parents in Toronto – my annual trip with the kids to visit their grandparents. I actually started “uninviting” my husband on these trips the last couple of years because (a) he hates Toronto (especially suburbs) and (b) it’s not fun for either of us going out with my great old girlfriends. On this particular visit, I saw 3 of my oldest girlfriends and it was fabulous and so sad at the same time. When I see them, it’s like we saw each other yesterday. It makes me realize that I don’t have those types of friendships here in Montreal. I moved here for my husband and our life revolves around family and work. Even though I have made some great “mom” friends, it doesn’t hold a candle to the girlfriends I’ve left behind…

  4. I’m so glad to have found your blog today. I’m going to check around. Resilience is a rare but important quality to possess.

  5. I can remember when I used to be uncomfortable eating alone while dining out. But after years of flying all over the country while in corporate sales, I became accustomed to eating alone…and, YES, if you are open to meeting new people and chatting with strangers (in a safe locale however), you can enjoy a delightful time and make a friend for an EVENING or a LUNCH. I have heard so many wonderful stories about life and met so many people that I knew could have become a best friend if we had lived closer to each other.

    Another thing that having a busy career that took me away from home often helped me do: Evaluate my friendships and separate them into the “givers” and “takers” categories. I am sure you all know what I am talking about. I came to realize that some friends are there for you come rain or come shine and others are there only when they need something from you…and never to return the favor. I finally used my travel excuse to cut the ties on some of those friendships. I have fewer friends, so there are times when I do things alone. But as I like to say, “I would rather be alone than wish I were alone.” Ha, ha.

    Great post, Erica.

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