My husband has been gone for about a week, and hopes to be home tomorrow. When we spoke on the phone this afternoon, I told him I may not be home when he arrives. I have a coffee date.
"Oooh! Coffee! That sounds fun!" And yes, there were exclamation points in his tone. "Who are you meeting up with? Where are you going?"
You would have thought I had told him I was going to a concert or water park or hot new restaurant instead of a local coffee shop with our son.
Truth be told, he has every right to be happy about me getting out of the house, and I do, too. I have always been a bit of a hermit, but mamahood + not many local friends (all friends here work FT) + lovely grey Ohio valley winters = my lame ass only goes out to grocery shop or walk the neighborhood. I have only myself to blame. I keep intending to take G to Kindermusic, or MOPS or whatever, but I just don't.
I always knew that working full time with a revolving roster of chatty clients WAS my social outlet. Aside from getting together for a random cookout or tri club meeting, I rarely reached out to friends (historically). Come to think of it, I am never the organizer; hubs wants to have people over to dinner - I agree; friends want to do a ski weekend - I agree. I rarely initiate social gatherings.
I guess what I'm saying is my lack of sociability was once hidden behind engaging with a new client every hour of the work day. And quite frankly, after our move to Kentucky (10th in my lifetime, 4th in the last 10 yrs), I'm freaking tired of going through the initial small talk and banalities. "Where are you from? How did you two meet? What do you do? Oh, really? I've heard it's beautiful there!" It reminds me of Chris Rock's stand-up bit in Bigger and Blacker where his conversations with his wife hit auto-pilot. FF to 1:10 in the YouTube clip. But I digress.
My delightfully insightful and equally snarky friend (and incidentally professional counselor; yes, comes in handy!), Leslie, and I commiserate about friend-making in our mid-30s. She suggested the following script the next time I meet someone at a party and am forced into small talk.
'Hi, I'm Amy. I'll probably never talk to you again.' Maybe that's the way to pinpoint true friend potential. 'I'm going to put minimal effort into this since, let's face it, we're only here because we have to be.' If you get a laugh, they pass. Snark is a minimum friendship requirement.
Of course I won't follow though, but I got a good laugh out of it.
Making new friends is exhausting. Most worthwhile endeavors are (sorry for the cliché). But maintaining my existing true friendships isn't exhausting. It's easy. Sharing or receiving a random text or phone call *gasp* after months pass is not an insult, it's delightful.
So yes, I will have a laid back coffee with a new friend tomorrow. At worst, I get out of the house for a couple of hours and at best, make a good connection and possibly make plans for a future get-together.
And maybe it will take some of the pressure off of my husband morphing into Chris Rock...Just watch the video. It's great.