make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other is cold

In ALL, BOOK PUBLISHING, TRAVEL by Stephanie Klein20 Comments

JOIN ME TONIGHT AT BOOKS & BOOKS IN CORAL GABLES, MIAMI. 8PM. CELEBRATE THE RELEASE OF MOOSE! FREE CHOCOLATE, FREE STEPHANIE, AND FREE FRIEND-ON-FRIEND ACTION

I haven’t seen my mother since September, but we’re together now in a hotel room. She’s sitting on the sofa reading Moose for the first time. I’m watching as she reads it, pushing back her cuticles. I just now struggled with how to write that. "I haven’t seen my mother since September, 2007" makes it seem like we’re estranged, and we’re not. We live across the country and don’t speak as often as I’d like, and that’s my fault mostly, as I don’t really talk with anyone much over the phone these last few months. Or is it years? I’ve become a bit hermetic since having Lucas and Abigail, leaving my friends and family, picking up and moving to a city where I didn’t know a single person. You’d think I’d have been a phone junkie, trying desperately to stay connected to all I left behind. Instead, I had babies and Costco with a two-car garage and as cliche as the scenario, I wanted a fresh start, to really view my life as an adventure.

Yes, I remember the Girl Scout motto: make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other is gold. Last time I checked the fashion FAQs, silver and gold just look tacky together. I know people argue that such fashion rules are archaic, but I prefer not to look like a pawn shop. Or a chump. Ever introduce two friends from different categories of your life, only to watch them making plans without you? We’re taught at an early enough age to play nicely, to share our favorite toy, or half of our grilled cheese sandwich. But no one ever tells us to be generous with our friends because when you are, you risk losing them. And it’s not the same with romantic relationships, where someone will speak of a bird in the hand, how it stays there, happy in your hand until you begin to tighten your grip and confine him. Then the "if you set it free and it comes back to you" crap people sling about endings. If you set a friend free in that analogy–"meant to be" or not–you could, quite possibly feel as rejected as you did at your first boy/girl party.

When I lived in New York, once I left my job in advertising to pursue my full-time writing career, I realized in a small way, I missed the random lunches with the random co-workers, and maybe it was time to leave my comfort zone a bit. Despite the friends I had and adored, it couldn’t hurt to make new ones. I signed up to join The Lunch Club, a free service that plans events and introduces strangers over lunches and much more in New York. But in truth, I didn’t make new friends, and like online dating, wondered if the people there only joined because they were desperate. I wasn’t desperate when I turned to the lunch club or to online dating, so I know it’s not the rule, but it still felt like the rule. And it seemed no one was playing by friend-rules anyway. It sucked to hear that while I had no plans, the two friends I’d introduced were off doing things together, without thought of including me. Catching a movie, sharing a cab to the 27th Street flea market, ordering in dinner. Especially since, I’ve always been so inclusive, living by the "more the merrier" adage. It seems that sometimes the more you bring together, the less merrier you’ll be. Intellectually, it sounds so childish, and in practice, I’ll just never be a greedy friend. In fact, I always introduce women to each other, certain they’ll click, despite the knowing they might soon exclude me from their plans. I’ll live as an adult and not a Judy Blume book.

Comments

  1. I'm not afraid to say that I don't like mixing my different groups of friends. For my sanity, it's right for me to have one group who I can go out with when the other group is busy or getting on my nerves and vice versa. I also like to straddle the line between two different "worlds" if you will. I live exactly between the suburbs and the city so it's nice to go to the dinner parties and holiday parties with all my married and coupled friends, but sometimes I just want to roam around the city and bar hop with the girls I hang out with in the city.

    I actually tried to get everyone to hang out once but the suburb folks practically keeled over at the thought of driving 45 minutes to the city just to have dinner and hang out. Why drive so far when there's a good Outback Steakhouse 5 minutes away, right? Ha!

    I'm 20 minutes away from everything so i'm willing to do anything and not yet ready to settle into one way of life or one group of friends. God Bless those Southern Living parties (oh yes, at 26 i've been to a few) but sometimes I just want to drink a beer on a patio in the city, eat chips and salsa and dance with inappropriate men!

  2. I went to a couple of Lunch Club events and feel exactly the same as you did. Were these people really here to make new friends? Felt more like a meat market to me. And can you really make friends in such a forced setting? I need the girl or guy in the corner quietly observing and letting loose the occasional sarcastic observation, never making it personal, just biting enough that I might snort martini out of my nose in my response. And those are hard to come by with so many people trying so hard to make a connection, any kind of connection, with almost anyone. I don't make friends like that. I'm a guy's girl with frilly tendencies. But the guy's new girlfriends hate me because i'm threatening to them and the girls don't like it because I get along really well with their boyfriends. Anyone know how to be a girl who has both girl friends and guy friends when you are equally comfortable around both? And how to make friends in a new city when you are not the type of person who does well in a forced situation developed to encourage the making of friendships?

    Sorry to ramble on……….I had mai tais for lunch.

    And………..I didn't mean to imply that I thought you didn't look beautiful when I mentioned that you might want to have crossed your legs during your morning Dallas interview. You did/do look beautiful. So much so that I thought to myself "this is the mother of twins? I should hope to look that good".

  3. I'll be there tonight in the front row. Where are we going after the reading?

  4. Just had to share that my BFF and I first became friends because a mutual friend introduced us. . . we'd known each other as coworkers before that, but had never socialized and thus never "clicked."

    I only talk to the mutual friend a couple of times a year now, and my BFF has completely lost touch with her. . . .

  5. Thanks for the mention. Well, people are people – as hard as we try to keep the vibe at The Lunch Club "strictly friendly" as it turns out, when you put men and women in a room together, things happen. But people often tell me the vibe of The Lunch Club is much more casual and relaxed than many other networking type of things (especially those geared toward romance). Thousands of people have made great friendships through the club – and as an unintended side product of that, we now have many marriages and babies. Who knew? The Lunch Club is one of the many ways in NYC to "get yourself out there" but like with anything, it's what you make of it. Also, it's totally random – you never know who you will meet or what will come of it. But for the great majority of attendees, it appears to be a very positive experience. :-)

    Thanks again!

    Jared

  6. my best friend has a similar issue with this. she introduces me to co-workers/friends of hers and then gets completely jealous if we click and end up being friends outside of her. we are both pushing 30 and i think this is completely ridiculous. i was just forced to make a decision a few weeks ago when my friend, who was promoted and is now her boss, decided they could only have a professional relationship. my BFF thought it was right to expect the same of our relationship. i happen to live with her, and for the sake of my sanity (she would make my life miserable if i didn't agree to relinquish the frienship) – i have quit pursuing that friendship. it infuriates me that she would put me in that place. any suggestions?

  7. I read both of your books and was waiting for an A-Ha!moment to comprehend why you consider your dad your best friend. He said things that were cruel, belittling, devastating. Your mom sounds deservedly marginalized but how did your dad redeem himself so significantly?

    I am sorry that your parents were so callous with their words.

  8. I'm also one of those people that bring together random people. I try to include anyone I think might have a good time, and go from there. It's amazing the connections that are made, and the random conversations that happen when you bring together groups of people from different parts of your life. And if two friends make a new connection through me, hey, bonus! I'm not a "greedy friend" either.

    That and I've been the one on the outside a lot, wishing to be included (we moved a lot when I was growing up, and no, I'm not a military brat). So I think some of my tendency to bring people together is my own desire to not exclude anyone because I know what that feels like. Even though by brining people together I risk ending up on the outside looking in again. It's still a risk I'm willing to take.

  9. I am a "friends mixer." I love it when my friends become friends. But, like you, I'm always just a wee bit afraid that they'll end up liking each other more than either likes me. So far that hasn't happened….and I've been mixing friends for about 40 years. (does that mean my time is up? Or did I beat the odds?)

  10. Dear Stephanie Klien,
    I am an Almost-fourteen-year-old who read the book 'Moose'. It left me a bit confused about the whole 'Thin' thing.

    Especially since my mother wants to send me to fat camp. It's definetly not camp Yanisin, and it
    focuses on "Health, not weight." (Health, my arse).

    But my mother feels that I'm not serious about losing weight. And I really want to go to the camp.
    But I feel as if my reasons are shallow and stupid. Just like you, I have a thin me. The beatiful women I want to grow up to be. Not skinny, since I want curves, but to be 'Ideal'.
    I want to show up in school looking better then those people who make fun of me, although they just call me Fat-Ass, and not any animal associated nickname
    I feel as if this is not a good reason to lose weight and go to the camp.
    Did you have thoughts like these?

  11. Hey NYNY. It was a tremendous, tremendous thrill to see you again. Our friendship means more to me than you know. While you were milling about, I had a really nice long chat with your mom. She gave me some good 'mom advice.' Will write about the whole experience, naturally. Have a great time in NY and don't forget to send me a pic.

  12. Stepheney, I had to rethink my approach to everyone at one point in my life when being friendly was getting me into situations I really didn't want to be in. Men misconstrued my intentions and women got jealous. This may not be you, but stop flirting, or be that nice to men and women alike. Fake it till you make it if it doesn't feel authentic. Otherwise you run the risk of being like those women I loathe who just seem to be calculatingly manipulative and aim all their ammo at men, some of whom "belong" to others. This always seems to be transparent to other women, but is somehow obscured from their menfolk. They are just mean, but this may be how you are coming across, or it may not be. It is just worth consideration.

  13. Sorry I missed you in Miami- had a standing date in South Beach for the Sex & City release!

  14. I had a friend who I introduced to another. One of them got the other one a job at the same company for which she had been working at the time.. Cut to:

    One of these women has not called me in three years and yet the two of them get together all the time. I was so so hurt for a bit but then I realized, screw em both. I am a good person, lots of fun to be with and my life is too short.. So we have to take what we have and be happy and know that no one person is worth allowing us to feel badly.

  15. I am notorious for mixing my gold & silver friends because if things work out and my friends hit it off, I get excited because that means at my next girls night or dinner party I will have less pressure mingling and making sure everyone is comfortable. I do find it interesting how I enjoy acquiring more gold where as most of my silver friends only have silver with no interested in gold. I wonder what that says about me?

  16. I seem to be the friend who knows all the other friends. I'm the middle of the wheel. That's a weird position too. As a sidenote, thanks for getting the "One is silver, the other is gold" song in my head. Wasn't that from Girl Scouts?

  17. Your mother has two beautiful grand-babies, and she hasn't made it to Austin to see them since September???? Why not? Must be a really good reason.

  18. i don't think you should take any responsibility making excuses for your mother. there is something definitely wrong with her.it's none of our business what it is. i feel really very bad for you though. i have grandkids and my friends do also. try and keep us away. one of my friends goes from chicago to calif. every 6 weeks to see hers and scheduled chemo around those visits. i had a cold mother and know how it can be. now that i look back i see when i decided to be different from her. you have the dough, so i'm sure plane tickets are not the issue. also what about your supposedly great dad he rarely sees them also. your kids really really will ask questions as they get older, please do everything in your power for them to see their grandparents more often.

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