I just learned the real lyrics to that Big Pun song and briefly thought I should reevaluate the post title, given they are pretty much counter to what I’m trying to say. If I went that route, this post would sit in my drafts folder like the Hanseatic Hamburg and World’s 10 Best Burrito joints articles I wrote last year and have yet to finish. Plus, in the event you don’t actually know the real lyrics to the song, you’re now motivated to look them up. I could caution you not to, on account of how I feel like I need to scrub my search history and my brain after reading ’em, but you know how I like to throw caution to the wind (you don’t already know? I fly people to the oldest city in the Netherlands for 15K races, set off on cross-country treks on a whim, and unabashedly convince others to get noserings, people. Totally reckless, amiright?). Lucky for you, I don’t want to waste this awesome photo homage to BP, and I’m jet-lagged and gonna hit publish, just as it is now.
Let’s get to the meat of the conversation here – a serious topic in need of more discussion in public forums. I’m talking friend crush. Before you go off on a tangent, my friend Laura (Note to Laura: seriously, can we be friends?! Huff Post and Steph Theobald give all the reasons we should) explains the kind I mean here (there’s even a flow chart!). So as not to seem a greedy dog, I should disclose I’m fresh off filling up on soul food with some of my most cherished friends in the entire world and will bask in grateful euphoria for a long time to come. That said, I’ve actually been thinking on this topic for months, before my latest friend crush even sprang up, thanks to a series of articles in my fave mags (unrelated side note: frankie magazine issue 57, grandmas rock. you’re welcome) and a chat with a longtime bestie. We were discussing how tough it is to make friends as adults, especially PK (post-kids). It is in fact just like dating, only even harder because there are all these subtle notions you don’t want to expressly state (“no, I don’t want to sleep with you, unless you mean like secretly catching a power nap together when we’re meant to be working” and “I’m cool with taking my baby to a bar and letting them listen to rap music and also sometimes we skip naptime so they’ll go to bed early so I can watch OITNB”) for fear of rejection and judgement and because it all sounds a little desperate. While the tactic of memorizing all the Chiefs player stats may have worked on your high school crush (actually, it didn’t because it turned out he was a Bills fan. WTH?! I should have stuck to my dad’s advice to only seek someone who was both a) a Cubs fan and b) a Bears fan – something for a whole other post), grown-ups are generally more able to suss out genuine versus feigned interests and, more importantly, the absence of intimate intent makes faking it pointless. Then there’s the whole challenge of trying to make friends with people without kids so you can maintain some grip on the cooler PK (pre-kids. Crap, I need different acronyms) version of you (OK, probably more like the vision of the PK version of myself I held in my head, as opposed to the totally socially awkward real one). It seems many people without munchkins just assume you’re going to talk about poo all day and make them play with colourful plastic toys that blast out gratingly cheerful ping pong music (I won’t, unless that’s your thing, and then you know, I’m down with supporting whatever a good friend wants to do because I love to love unconditionally. #justlove). Add on an extra hurdle of living somewhere your masterfully crafted jokes (no, not the dirty ones) don’t exactly translate with your present language skills, and impressing potential new pals becomes tougher than summiting Mt Kilimanjaro.
At this point you’re not even going to flinch when I tell you my latest friend crush seems to have completely rebuffed my AFA (you did click on Laura’s post link up there, yeah?). What I mean by “seems to” is definitely did. While it’s possible there could have been some confusion about my intentions (Note to Laura again: bad advice on the drunk thing), I wonder if the real issue is the lack of advocacy for adults looking for platonic companions outside of work or university settings. After reading in HBR about using concepts from addiction programs for change management in organisations, it hit me. My lot in life may just be to establish a foundation to support people like me by utilising the same sort of 12-step theories to achieve the sort of behavioral modification best suited to courting and winning new bosom buddies. At the least, we would establish a Universal Code of Conduct (UCC, not to be confused with University College Cork or Uniform Commercial Code) or Accepted Rules of Engagement (ARE, so as not to be confused with ROE, because this isn’t 50 shades of anything, people) which could be agreed to on a community-connecting not-at-all-like-Match.com site (yes, I’m aware this sort of thing exists, but in principal alone, plus myriad other reasons, I’m never going to use a site called SocialJane or Girlfriend-anything, and you can only troll fb for so long before you start feeling like you belong on the catch a predator show). So, with the advice of one of my most-trusted confidants* in mind, I will take the first step to creating said international fellowship by offering some proposed ARE for the ALPCOWU:
- Our common welfare should come first. Unity should be upheld. Safety in numbers.
- The only requirement to be part of the community is the desire to make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold. Or both platinum. Because both are quite good.
- ALPCOWU and its members should remain forever nonprofessional because holding on to youthful joy is the key to longevity and loads of other good things.
- Asking for music recommendations and/or complimenting musical interests or talents can and should be considered as a platonic pick-up line. If a member is asked or complimented, they should always support the other by obliging and not hog all their indie-rock and underground-folk musical discoveries to themselves in a selfish effort to keep the upper hand on cool. Same will not hold true for books, because this ain’t Barnes & Noble and book clubs always degenerate into a group of secretly ashamed people talking about a book they only pretended to read.
- ALPCOWU ought never be organised because that might give some members a complex and create unnecessary competition with brilliant colour-coordinated folders and expertly interior-designed Expedit shelving units.
- The community shall not officially establish any formal opinion on political issues, excepting condemnation of bigotry, and strive never to willingly enter into public controversy, save for necessary street brawl activities, which must, in any case, be forgiven by other members.
Your turn: We should, in theory, have 12 tenets in our code. What would you add? Also, want to hang out sometime?
* Secret note to noted friend: yes, I am also really working on the plan for my occupational passion project.