On my way to meet up with a friend a few weeks ago, I found myself involved in a curious kind of internal pep talk.
“Just be yourself,” I said. “Don’t fill the void with the vapid. If there’s a lull, let it hang. Stick to your guns; be yourself. You don’t need to be agreeable to be agreeable.”
As I raced off, I realized that maybe — just maybe — I had outgrown the friendship a little bit. Or that we were a mismatch for one another at this stage in our life. Or that she had changed and I had not, or vice versa, and there was a bizarre kind of gap forming in which our friendship had gone from easy-to-navigate to a bit tempestuous.
You see, I have found our conversations strained lately. Perhaps (hopefully?) not perceptibly to her, I find myself hopscotching to avoid certain topics that we do not see eye to eye on and that frankly drain me. And I’m not referring to meaty topics in which critical debate is educative; this is not a case where I only want to hear what I want to hear. Rather, I find her interests and observations so thoroughly different from my own that I find myself repeating small meaningless affirmatives in the absence of returning anything substantive: “Oh wow, that’s great. Great. Oh interesting. Hm. Oh. Interesting. Oh wow.” Vapid volley that leaves me yearning for stimulation elsewhere.
I’m not talking about a bad friendship, by the way — one that needs to be broken up or abandoned because it is too damaging. (And I have thoughts on that, too.) I’m talking about a friendship where I catch myself performing its intimacies and find myself more depleted than fulfilled.
But then I second-guessed myself. Relationships are not always breezy little jaunts. You wear your heart on your sleeve and so it is bound to get bruised and prodded and strained from time to time. You grow and change and she grows and changes and so too does your relationship, and sometimes you need to afford it the space to let it become what it becomes. Maybe we are in the midst of an evolution into a different kind of relationship, one whose meetings are fewer and further between and only of a certain sort. And that’s fine, too.
What’s more: when you care about someone, you hang in.
What do you think, magpies? Have you ever found yourself engaging in personal pep talks before meeting up with a friend? Is this healthy or non-healthy? What’s the prognosis for this friendship?
Post-Scripts: Things I Love from Amazon.
Below, thought I’d share some of my favorite recent Amazon finds, many of which I’ve featured in the past. These are RLY good finds.
+These pillows have improved sleep in our home. I used to find myself waking up to flip and fluff my pillow 2-3 times a night. These hold their shape well and do not get hot (?!?!?!?)
+Mini loves her broom/mop set, and I love that it’s not a plastic eyesore and that it’s modeling the art of cleaning up! (Also, it stores upright and therefore takes up virtually no space in our apartment. #manhattanproblems)
+I was like 23 years late to the micellar water game, but now I’m a lifelong convert. I like Bioderma’s — it’s gentle, affordable, and effective.
+An affordable, machine-washable kitchen rug. I toss it in the laundry along with dish towels every few days. (Around the same time I put my sponge through the dishwasher.)
+This was a must-have solution for the tangle of cords at my bedside: one for the monitor, one for the Kindle charger, one for the lamp, one for the iPhone charger, and — recently — one for the humidifier. (People are very polarized by humidifiers, I have come to learn, but I love mine and think it has helped in these dry winter months, and especially as I’ve gotten over the hump of a nasty cold.) I like the cube power strip because it has such a tiny footprint, is easy to access, and is a little less unsightly than a traditional strip, but I will say I wish it had a little more heft to it, as it will tip over unless I have positioned it carefully, which irks me.
+These are the best forks for mini right now. Super cheap and super durable and they actually enable her to spear her food. A lot of the other brands I’ve tried (Skip Hop, etc) just act like spoons.
+This is how I keep mini’s hair tidy.
+I have a stash of different Scout bags in different shapes and sizes and find they come in endless handy — whether tossed into a suitcase to serve as a makeshift tote for carrying things to the pool or stowing laundry or toys, as a slightly nicer way of toting snacks/food to a gathering, as a temporary receptacle for things to donate/take down to the storage unit/organize for storage.
+My favorite water bottle for mini. Ultra-durable, super cute patterns, do not spill, and hold a lot of water. Great for taking out with us on adventures around the city.
+I blanch to think how many bumps and tumbles this has prevented in mini’s life.
+The easiest way to lure mini into her bath when she’s not having any of it. Me: “Do you want to put color in the water?” Her: [Pause. Then dropping of toys and padding of feet.] SHE LOVES THEM. I let her pick out two tablets each bath time and it’s magic for her. My only question: why God why did they make a yellow color, so that bathwater looks like urine?!
+If I sing their praises one more time, y’all might kill me, but these keep every drawer and medicine cabinet shelf in our home immaculate.
+One of only a handful of things I have auto-shipped to me at the end of every month. These are THE BEST GLOVES for dishwashing.
+As every mom knows, these are the best shoes for summertime in the city. Mini can wear them in splashpads and puddles and look just as chic with them in a little dress.
+My bar is never without fun cocktail napkins. Currently loving these, a nod to magpies 🙂
+Cannot rave enough about this ultra-lightweight, fluid sunscreen. When it arrived, I was shocked at how small the bottle was, but a little bit lasts a long time AND WORKS. It glides on underneath makeup and never leaves a residue.
+Gifted Mr. Magpie a set of these produce bags in his stocking and love them. Much better for storing produce than in those non-breathable plastic bags you get at the grocery and better for the environment. Can be tossed in the laundry! I really like how they keep our produce drawer tidy and easy to navigate. “I want an apple — just look for the bag with the red cord.” Genius!
+Dorkily into the seasonal scents from Mrs. Meyers.
+Mini loves these letter and shape puzzles! Such a great way to introduce spelling to her at a young age.
+We use this mat all the time in our house. A great stress reliever and solid at working out knots/aching bones.
+Just discovered that Windex comes in wipe form and and and they make me SO HAPPY. We have mirrored side tables in our bedroom and I’m constantly telling myself “go get the windex and clean them down!” and then getting distracted. Now I keep these in my bedside table and wipe them down the minute I think of it. It’s a great day to be alive, people.
+A fun pouch for your personals. Note that the largest size does not fit a 15″ Macbook despite the promises in the notes. But it’s all good.