IN talking about my year of more FUN, I’ve talked a lot about how my kids and husband have helped me focus on this goal and taught me new ways to have fun this year. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk a little bit about having more fun in friendships. So I just wanted to write a post celebrating all the shared absurdity that comes with close friendships and some of my favorite ways friends bring more fun into your life:
Old Stories that never really get old: Maybe one of my favorite ways friends help me have more fun- is by reminding me of the fun we’ve already had. Sometimes it’s easy to lose myself in the day to day rush and to-dos of motherhood, but it helps to keep people around who know other aspects of my personality and history. Plus, oftentimes just hearing a favorite story again can make us laugh until we cry. When I was in the end of high school and beginning of undergrad, I kept a quote book of little exchanges that cracked me up. I still go back and look at it and kind of wish I had the presence of mind to keep one now (but I”m struggling just to get kid quotes and journals going, so maybe once those become a habit I can revisit this!) quote
Inside Jokes: Similar to the stories mentioned above, only you can get to the laughter so much faster and easier, and unlike the stories… there’s no amount of explaining you can do to make some of them relevant to others. If you were there, no explanation is necessary; If you weren’t, none is possible. They are also the perfect pithy thing to reference when sending a pick me up note or postcard. For this reason, it makes some people feel uncomfortable that inside jokes are, by their nature, exclusive. But I love them and as long as you aren’t purposely bringing them up all the time to isolate others, I think they are just fine because the acquaintances I don’t have inside jokes with yet… I know it’s only a matter of time…
Nicknames: One of the suggestions to “have more fun” as part of our MOPS theme this year was to give nicknames to everyone on our leadership team. (This also helped with the fact that we have two Amandas on our leadership team!) and it is indeed a ton of fun coming up with unique names for people you love. My husband and I are huge nickname fans and purposely give our kids names that have nicknames we like, but our favorite nicknames are usually not just shorter ways of saying their names but something that reflects our love for them or their personality. I have a few nicknames that I adore and am very protective of. Not everyone gets to call me certain nicknames, and to me that’s part of their magic. I’ve had nicknames based off of my own name, off of literary characters, off of the most random text messages or intentional silliness, and even something that defines a specific friendship in terms like “same brain” or “soul twin”
Embarassing Moments: I’m not sure true friendship really starts until you are at least comfortable sharing embarrassing moments with each other. I’m not sure best friendship begins until you have been there for at least one of those embarrassing moments. The great thing about embarrassing moments is that they give you a chance to see that your friends love you for you and your quirks and imperfections don’t change that. The other great thing is that given a few months or years, these moments tend to turn into those wonderful stories and inside jokes mentioned above. (Time really is one of the secret ingredients for friendship!)
Adventures you’d never have on your own: One of my favorite things about having fun with friends is that they can push you outside your comfort zone in a way you might not push yourself on your own. It’s also part of the reason why choosing good friends is so important! You want to have adventures that are FUN! not destructive! What’s great about how diverse my group of friends are is that their idea of fun can be different than my own. You know what I never thought of as fun until a few years ago? RUNNING. I thought my friends were CRAZY for registering for races, but they planted that seed in my head until it bloomed into an important part of my self care routine and I ended up running a half marathon this year. Other crazy adventures I’ve had thanks to friends: Taking four shows to run in repertory at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, taking a whirlwind weekend trip to the Philly Fringe Festival, Renting a car and going on a road trip spur of the moment, midnight beach trips, silly photo shoots, hiking trails I may not have tried on my own, and SO MUCH MORE! (On the flip side, I’ve also never been pressured by my friends to do things I truly did not want to do… aside from trying to see the movie Munich which I walked out of halfway through… that was $12 wasted… but if that’s the worst of it then man do I have great friends.)
Shared enthusiasm/nerding out together: Finally, my friends help me have more fun because they magnify the enthusiasm and unique ways to have fun I might not embrace if I thought I was the only one. I’ve found it is ok to be nerdy and enthusiastic about color coding my planner and setting goals, to have my breath taken away by perfect scansion and verse work, to analyze the feminist themes in a book of the moment to love the little musical moments in songs that we both sing the instrumental part on and sing it out loud and proud… C.S. Lewis has an amazing quote I come back to again and again, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” I have always loved that, but what I’m loving even more is the ways we can use those unique shared thoughts and experiences to have more fun, more laughter, more adventure. Even things I already have a natural enthusiasm for like theatre or service or goal setting get better when shared with community.
So here’s to the friends that make you laugh until you can’t breathe. The people who, when you are with them, others wonder if you are friends or family. The people who bring you new adventures, relive old memories, and show you how to delight even more in your own unique gifts and interest. I’m so thankful for the ways my friends make my life so much more fun.
PS: IF you are looking for an awesome gift for a friend, or a tool to help you love on friends more intentionally, the Cultivate What Matters “Black Friday” sale starts today! So you can get that out of the way and focus on being thankful with friends and family next week! You can click HERE for 20% off almost everything in their shop aside from Powersheets 🙂