Friending Your Friends
Or, The Funny Thing About Friends
–By Jan McInnis, Comedian and Keynote Speaker
We scared the younger generation off of Facebook! No joke! Those of us over 40 may be more technology challenged than they are, but we took to Facebook like it was the fountain of youth. . . once we figured out how to post appropriately, that is, and not just tell each other what we had for breakfast. (If you’re still doing that, stop it, now! There’s funnier stuff to post!) We didn’t mean to take over Facebook, but we realized how cool it was to reconnect with long-lost childhood friends whom we thought we’d never see again because their family moved 30 miles away; now we can check in to find out if they became rock stars or at least stopped sucking their thumb.
I reconnected with my friend Liz from my Brownie and Girl Scout days because she saw my post that I was headed into her town. We made plans to meet “just for a drink.” Woolly mammoths were roaming the earth when we last met, so I think we both secretly wanted to make sure the other one wasn’t an axe murderer before committing to a full-fledged meal. Five minutes into the drink, with no axes in sight, we ordered food and had a wonderful time!
Though social media has made friendship more accessible, I’ve always known the value of friends. As someone who has spent a lot of my life as a single person, I’ve relied on friends for lots of things. People in a committed relationship have a built-in security blanket. If your car breaks down, your spouse/significant other has to help you. They might not want to, but they are kind of required to or it gets awkward at the dinner table. “Hey honey, how come you missed supper?” “You wouldn’t come get me on the side of the road!” Long silence. “Oops.” If you’re not in a committed relationship, then you have to go the “AAA-plus-call-a-friend” route.
One of my best friendships was actually the result of a car accident in which I found myself in my Honda Civic being pushed SIDEWAYS, attached to the grill of a truck, going 60 mph on a five-lane freeway in Los Angeles. No theme park adventure ride can even come close to that one! After the “ride” was over, I (thankfully) walked away, but my little Honda didn’t fare so well. I called my friend Diane at her work, and without hesitating, or saying she needed five minutes to finish a memo, or had to ask her boss first, or even had to go to the bathroom, she left work and came to my rescue. We had known each other before then, but that rescue deepened what has now been a great 10+ year friendship. The fact that she gave me a glass of wine before taking me to the ER to be checked out might have also played a part in our bonding!
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