random thoughts: on friends, friends-in-law and couple-friends
After a great weekend with our friends in Port Aransas, I've been thinking a lot about friendship these days.
So it occurs to me that whether you're an introvert or an extravert, it's generally really hard to make a new friend. I mean, I think that most people at their core are kind, but I don't think friendship is based on kindness alone. True friendship requires a certain amount of chemistry. Like falling in love, friendship requires depth. It requires trust. (It requires a bit of Friendship Math.) I think it's possible for folks to become friends instantaneously -- just like I believe in love at first sight -- but nonetheless, it requires something more profound than just "friending" someone on Facebook (which is a rant for another time). The truth is, given complex things like chemistry, trust and depth, we're each really lucky to have the true friends we do have, you know?
This becomes even more complicated when you have a partner. Tell me if this sounds familiar: you make a new friend and it's time for your partner to meet this person, so you plan some sort of outing. Everyone gets together, and it's almost immediately apparent that your friend does not approve of your partner. Or your partner immediately dislikes your friend. Horrifying, right? When this happens, your friendship can take a hit: will you ever be able to see your friend again? And if you do, can you talk about your partner? Or can you talk to your partner about your friend? Or ... or ...
Gah. Although I don't know this from personal experience, I suspect making friends when you're in a committed relationship feels similar to what I imagine it must be like to date when you're a single parent. You have to make sure that this person is a true friend -- there's that chemistry, trust, and depth, and then you have to decide whether or not the same can be achieved between your friend and your kids (or in this case, your partner), before you can even think about introductions.
It's a delicate tightrope walk.
But then there are the friends you bring into a relationship -- the ones where you feel like your spouse had better like them, because they've been part of your life so long, they're like family. I call those "friends-in-law" -- friends you naturally inherit because they're your spouse's very close friends, or conversely, your partner inherits because your best friend comes with the package. Happily, both Marcus and I have very good friends-in-law: he gets along really well with my friends who were close to me before he ever came on the scene, and vice-versa. So we're extremely lucky. Thank heavens.
Then there's the most complicated relationship of them all: the partner-partner friendship. In other words, the issue isn't whether your partner and your friend get along, but whether your partner and your friend's partner get along. You know, when all four of you really enjoy each other, so much so that your partners can go off and have a great time together, and aren't just faking it for you and your friend's sake. Everyone has a great time. All four people are laughing and joking like they mean it. All four people sincerely enjoy each other.
That is friendship gold, man. These are the folks who transcend mere friendship and move firmly in the realm of family. And gratefully, we have a few couples about whom Marcus and I feel really strongly. When that happens, I think it's imperative to really nurture that friendship as much as possible. In one case, we officially made each other family. In another, we have a longstanding tradition to spend family holidays together.
But nurturing true couple-friends like this doesn't necessarily require that much "officiality." I mean, seriously, you don't have to create holiday traditions or have a religious ceremony to cement a friendship. The truth is that nurturing a close friendship (or couple-friendship) can be incredibly simple, like finding a sunset and a good bottle of wine, and ensuring that you're in the company of your friends with those two ingredients as often as reasonably feasible.
While our spring break with our friends was entirely on our own accounts (and all my rambling thoughts and words are my own), this post and the bottle of wine shown in the photographs above were kindly sponsored by the awesome folks at La Crema Wines, as part of their new Make Your Moment campaign. La Crema celebrates the deliberate decision to create something fantastic, and invites everyone everywhere to create meaningful moments each day (something that I'm obviously very fond of doing). You can learn more about La Crema, their wines and the Make Your Moment campaign here; also, over the next couple of months I'll be sharing a few more of my favourite ways to inject awesome, joy-filled moments to your life. I hope you'll read along.