City living is difficult for many reasons, but high on the list is how challenging it is to create lasting, meaningful relationships. While dating can be its own hell, the relationships that seem to be the hardest to forge are friendships. You meet someone, maybe at work or through a mutual friend, and you have a spark. It seems amazing that out of so many people in this crazy city, you’ve found each other. For weeks and maybe months, you exchange texts, like their posts on social media, hang out. Then, next thing you know, they’re gone and you have no idea what happened. I’ve invested so much energy into people who offer a flashy allure that’s all fun and no substance then disappear after a couple of months. They’re the ones who will eventually start flaking on plans and won’t even take the time to respond to your Facebook invites. The question is, as busy, city dwelling people, why do we invest our time in these dead end relationships?
All I have to do is look to myself for the answer. I’ve never had that many friends, but have always wanted to throw great parties. I’m a person who goes overboard, in pretty much all aspects of my life. When I have people over, I spend hours, sometimes days, dedicating myself to planning the menu, shopping and setting things up to be just right. The funny thing is I’ve left a slew of disappointing parties in my wake. As a kid, my birthday parties often went up against July 4th weekend and lost. One person showed up to the housewarming party at my first apartment. Don’t even get me started on my Halloween party attempts. Given that my soirees are often less than rocking, one might ask why I continue on. I’ve asked myself the same thing, especially in light of my recent attempt at a ladies poker night. Despite my amazing snack spread — heirloom tomato and sweet pepper salsa, kale artichoke dip, pita and tortilla chips, vegetables — I only had three guests that night and told Cole he should just come home after two hours.
I’ve lived in New York for quite a while and know a lot of people, but I only have a handful of close friends — some of them don’t even live within the five boroughs. I’m never going to be the most popular person who throws the best parties that everyone wants to come to and until recently, I had a really hard time accepting that fact. When faced with the expected lack of guests the afternoon before my ladies poker night, I did what any logical 27-year-old woman would do. I called my mom and had a very mature breakdown. While I usually pride myself on having all the answers, I have to give my mom the credit for my final piece of advice.
The people that show up for you are your friends. They are the ones who will respond to your Facebook invites. They are the ones who will text you to say they are running late. They are the ones who will show up to your party even if it inconveniences them. The flakes that continuously cancel last minute or never respond to begin with are not your friends. In a city, you have to try even harder to maintain your relationships. It’s easy to not drag your ass all the way across town to go to a person’s birthday party at some bar that’s probably terrible. If it’s a person who shows up for you, though, you should probably get off your couch, put pants on and do it. You will probably only ever have a small, core group of friends so you need to stick by them.
This isn’t high school, and you don’t have to be pretend to be friends with people. That is the reality of city life and it’s not a bad thing. Though my ladies poker night failed to live up to its name — given that we played zero poker and Cole was there for half of it — I had a great time. I got to spend time with people I care about, eat some good snacks and drink a little wine. I’m done lamenting the things that I’ll never have. What I do have is pretty damn good.