Are You Still A Good Friend In Your Thirties?

I just got back from visiting Jane in LA and it was fantastic. I’d been working in LA for two weeks, so I took the opportunity to extend my stay for 7 days at Jane’s apartment in Santa Monica. It was the best decision I could’ve made.

image

Jane and I managed to spend 7 days with almost every hour together, and we still felt like we could’ve easily used more time. We went to all kinds of delicious restaurants, from brunch cafes to vegetarian taco places to incredible italian (we’re ridiculously happy foodies), while also managing to find a mac and cheese festival (9 different mac and cheeses in 2 hours), and quite a few great drink deals and happy hours.

image image

We also managed to both get quite a bit of work done together- between writing and blogging and marketing and other job-related things. We also got in quite a few physical activities such as biking for quite a few hours and running and walking all over the place. We met up with friends and coworkers and I even got to go to her weekly writers workshop.

In short, it was a successful trip. However, one of the things we talked about and have had quite a few serious discussions about in the past is maintaining our friendship even when we’re in relationships.

We’ve both found that it can be easier to maintain friendships when single. I’ve seen this happen time and time again with acquaintances who fall off the face of the earth when they find a significant other.

I know it has happened to me in the past, especially in my early 20s, where I expected all my friends to understand that I didn’t have as much time to spend hanging out with them. Some of my friends then drifted away- probably angry at me for being so stupidly unaware that I was pushing them away. Luckily, I realized what I’d done and now heavily prioritize spending time with my friends and family.

I feel terrible even thinking about those days, but I think you have to go through the relationship/friendship vortex to understand. At first, when you’re in a relationship, it can just seem like you don’t have nearly as much time to hang out with your friends. However, if you let that feeling lead you, and you stop appreciating and tending to your awesome friendships, you’ll pay a heavy price.

You don’t want your significant other to be your only friend. Even if you’re married, I think it’s a very bad idea to only hang out with your significant other, or only give minor thought to your friends. Worst case scenario, you break up or get divorced, and then you realize your good friends are gone because you’ve been pushing them away for years.

Jane and I always promise each other that we’ll tend to our friendship no matter what, and I think that’s one of the biggest reasons we’ve been friends for so long. During this trip we made a point to talk once again about prioritizing our friendship whether or not we’re in relationships. It’s actually a manual thing- you need to put friends right up there with career and relationships, especially during the busy, hectic years of your thirties. Good friends are strengthening and amazing- never take them for granted.

image

 

Advertisements

How To Be a Good Houseguest

Having houseguests can be both fun and stressful. You have to clean the living room and possibly even the toilet (eek)! You have to blow up the air mattress or pull out the fold out bed or put away all that random clothing you’ve stored in the guest room. You possibly have to entertain and cook extra food. It can be a big ordeal even if the person you have coming over is the coolest person ever.

I understand this, and this is why I strive to be The Best Houseguest Ever. I’ve stayed with people A LOT. I’ve also had people stay with me A LOT. Since I’ve traveled for work for the past 8+ years, and am not put up in a hotel every single time, there’s a lot of back and forth going on with me and coworkers/friends/relatives in other cities.

2014-03-02 22.12.20

So here’s my list of top things you can do to be The Best Houseguest Ever as well. I’m sure you’re a very good houseguest already, but in your thirties you might as well be amazing at it 🙂

Best Houseguest Ever Practices:

  1. Thank your host(s) for letting you stay. They’re going out of their way. The very least you can do is genuinely say thank you. They’re being pretty awesome!
  2. Thank them again. I thank them a lot. It’s amazing how important this is and how many people may not do it. (My friends do, so if you’ve stayed with me, it’s all good). 🙂
  3. Be especially nice if there is a husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/roommate that you don’t know very well or at all. This is HUGE. That person can sometimes feel very left out or weird about the whole thing. Go the extra mile and make sure to thank that person too. Go the extra EXTRA mile and ask that person a question..it could be as simple as ‘how was your day?’ or ‘how was work?’ or as much as a full conversation if they want to chat.
  4. If they make you food, offer to help cook or set the table.
  5. If they make you food, offer to wash dishes. They may decline, but at least you tried.
  6. Be neat and don’t leave stuff everywhere.
  7. Put items back where you found them (such as pots or pans if you cooked).
  8. Keep noise levels down if the hosts are asleep (TV, phone calls, etc).
  9. When you leave, fold the bedsheets if you’re on a pullout or an air mattress.
  10. Give them something back. In order to figure out what to give, lets get very honest:

Are the people you’re staying with not making a ton of money? Are they struggling artists or unemployed? These are important questions because they influence whether the person/people you’re staying with will be happy or insulted if you offer certain repayments. Repayments I’ve used have included:

  • Taking your host(s) out to dinner one night
  • Giving your hosts some grocery money if they’ve cooked for you every day (some people may be insulted by this, but you can feel it out based on the above.)
  • Getting your hosts a bottle of wine or champagne
  • Getting your hosts some other small gift, such as a fancy candle or whatever they seem to like.

Hope this helps you enjoy house-guesting a bit more! Have any more Best Houseguest Ever ideas for this post? I’d love to learn them. Happy travels!

Laura comes to LA

It’s Laura’s final night visiting me in LA, and it’s been a really fun couple of days! We’ve been doing a lot of eating, talking and wandering. Since I moved to LA about fifteen months ago, she’s come to stay with me twice. BOTH times it has rained consecutively for several days straight. For those of you that don’t know SoCal weather, that’s odd for LA. One day of rain is somewhat normal, but not several days in a row.

We’ve made the best of the crappy weather though. I introduced Laura to my favorite TV show, Nathan For You on Comedy Central, and today we went to see the movie Wild, about the woman who hikes the Pacific Coast Trail to deal with her grief from the death of her mother. (FYI, it’s amazing and we left the theater sobbing, dying for a life-changing camping trip in the woods.)

While we were on the bus earlier this week, we started talking about our 30’s, and we agreed on one major thing. While this decade definitely has left us feeling uncertain about our futures, the truth is, that as we grow older, we keep feeling better about ourselves and our experiences in the world. This is not to say life somehow gets easier, in fact, it absolutely gets harder – we have more responsibilities and more challenges, but still, life feels better. You go through tough situations but discover that you’re still standing after each one, having grown into a more flexible person than before.

The key thing is that you don’t fear things as much. You’ve seen enough to let the fear dissipate a little. You can deal with it.

There’s a gorgeous quote from the Cheryl Strayed book Wild, on which the movie was based, that I feel like is appropriate to growing older in your thirties:

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”
― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Here’s to us all getting stronger every day in our thirty-something journey!

Here are some pictures from our public Transit experiences in LA. And yes, taking the bus is possible, if hard, in this city.

IMG_0004 IMG_0006

IMG_0011

%d bloggers like this: