Some of this is going to sound strange. The rest of it will sound confessional. Most of it will not come out chronologically. Bear with me. Here’s the answer before the question (which appears below)…
The other night I was invited, quite gloriously and also quite last minute, to attend an intimate concert (with cocktail party) to see my Ray Lamontagne. Yes, my Ray Charles Lamontagne. And with a plus one. Two hours away from Austin. That’s right, road trip. But who would I bring? Would I take a risk and phone women with whom I wanted to be closer? Or do you ask your closest friend? Do you just reach out and call someone with whom you’ve never even hung out one on one? All of the above. Let me explain.
#1 TURN RUT INTO ROUTINE
I literally had to consult (read: make) a list because I FORGOT WHO MY FRIENDS ARE here in Austin. But how is that possible? I’ve been living here for four years, as much time as I’d spent in college. How is it possible? Because I have no social routine anymore. Now, it’s a social rut. I have friends here, friends about whom I genuinely get giddy, friends with whom I want to sleep over and stay up all night, but I simply don’t get to see them enough. We have these magical all-day talks, porch drunk nights, then no plans for another month, if that. Because I have no routine. Enter my first piece of advice: turn rut into routine by scheduling a regularly occurring, weekly get-together with at least three friends. That’s right: A Pair & A Spare. Just don’t call it girls’ night. Women who use the phrase “Girls’ Night” sound like they frost their hair, wear clear bra straps, and favor the anklet. Just, no.
Work in a regularly scheduled Wednesday Hump Coffee; a weekly Sunday at the bookstore cafe where you whip through piles of magazines and books together; the essential Happy Hour(s). Don’t let these regulars become semi-regulars or you’ll end up feeling irregular.
#2 ADD THOSE CLOSE TO YOU TO YOUR FAVORITES LIST
Some days you’re unexpectedly free. You know what? I don’t feel like working! Work that with someone. You need your top-10 hit list of friends for when you want to blow off steam. Or vent. Enter piece of advice number dos. Keep your favorite local gal pals on your phone’s speed dial or favorites list. Then call them. Not Facebook messages, not Twitter. Not email. Call. Know why? What we all really want is a friend we can have in our daily on off. Not a scheduled time to catch up. We want a friend we can call when we simply want to shoot her a photo while we’re in the dressing room for a thumbs up or down. We want a friend who’s in our life for the details, the small things, our funny thoughts, to watch TV with us over the phone (if it can’t be in person). The only way you get there is by actually calling people. Even if you’re in the car (hands-free, of course), to just shoot the shit. Because our best friendships are lived in the smaller details.
#3 GET CLUBBY WITH IT
We could all benefit from broadening our horizons and meeting new women. So why not do what men do? Pick ’em up in a club. A book club. A SLUTS club (Southern Ladies Under Tremendous Stress, aka a Paula Deen Potluck Club). Here’s what I got out of my last club experience: a memory of a kitchen that wanted more women. I want my home to be so different from the one where I grew up… yet what am I doing about it? Ask yourself that same question. Why aren’t more women coming over to your house?
#4 GET READY TO GET VULNERABLE
When my father married Carol, their rabbi spoke at the wedding about the makings of a good marriage. I won’t say that she said A Good Marriage Is An Open Marriage, but she circled the vicinity. When we’re open and at our most vulnerable is when the blessings have a chance to walk through the door. So keep your door open to strangers. Yes, there’s risk and possible danger, but the rewards outweigh the dread. You know the story about the stranger in rags, with nothing to eat, knocking on door after door, being turned away, in the rain. Then the kind couple who didn’t have much, but offered what they could to the stranger… and we know, we know, that stranger turned out to be Jesus or someone (you can tell I’m big into religion), and rewarded the couple with something they couldn’t otherwise have, children or something. My point is, you have to take a leap. Face rejection. Do what I do. Every year I’ve been here in Austin for Thanksgiving, I’ve opened our home to strangers, to anyone who doesn’t have family nearby. You make friends by being open and fearless… and by sharing what’s wrong with you…
#5 LET YOUR FREAK FLAG FLY + AIR SOME DIRT
Be yourself, sure, but don’t overdo it by doing a life dump on a new friend. This isn’t corrective ass surgery; use common sense. Test the waters. Confess to being obsessed with Christmas (as I am), then confess that you’re the type who always plans big but fails to execute. Then wait for her to share her shortcomings. Give and take at the same level and intensity, so you don’t come off as a complete freak show, and before you know it, she’ll be asking you to help her pick out the perfect gluteal implants for her upcoming ass-plasty. Confession breeds intimacy.
I’ve got more! Because I’ve given it more thought and time to fester, so alas, more girlfriend tips here »
So to start: I’m pretty kick-ass, and I know it. I have a job which I use to pay for my travels and for my MFA. I graduated in May 2010 with a degree in creative writing, I run for fun, and I’m a travel junkie. I’m a pretty well-balanced individual, except sometimes I still fear my husband wants to leave me (wtf?). He’s about to make a switch into a more demanding job, and while I’ve contained my psychotic emotions quite well, I still don’t know why I have them. I fear he might start going out for drinks with his new colleagues or he might start eating at the office. I don’t know where this damn fear comes from…mostly because I do trust him, which gets me to my other point: I have officially become that girl who has no real girlfriends. I need some advice as to how to start making friends again, because it’s been a while since I’ve had the need. I think what trips me up about my hubby’s new job is that he might make friends and even if not, he might be busier, and I want to respect that business by creating my own life. I think something essential to that is making girlfriends, which I haven’t had to make in a really long time. So even though most of my life is great, I find myself not having any stable girls to really turn to when I need a drink, a shopping partner, or someone to hang out with when the hubby is burning the midnight oil. Advise me on how to make lasting girlfriends again.
GOT QUESTIONS? NEED ADVICE?
If you have questions or need advice on anything from where to eat to how to get over the bastard, just email your question to my advice email address.