Today’s post by Erin Duffy
Today we bring you novelist Erin Duffy. This post hit home with both Ariel and I who, though we don’t live near each other and only see each other maybe twice a year, cherish our funny texts, phone conversations shared over top of screaming children in the background, and those rare times when we’re actually together and can not stop talking because we have so much to make up for. So, here’s to girlfriends, and to the books that remind us just how valuable they are. Read on…
FINDING TIME FOR OUR FRIENDS
I’m just going to come right out and say it: I don’t trust girls who don’t have girlfriends. I’m sorry. I just don’t. If we meet and you tell me that you don’t have any girlfriends, you can bet that I’m operating under the assumption that you’re either half-alien or that there’s something seriously wrong with you.
I love my friends. I cherish them. I don’t have any sisters and without them I don’t know how I’d have made it through junior high, or high school, or college, or my twenties. Now that I think about it, I’ve needed them desperately throughout my thirties, too.
You get where I’m going with this.
Here’s the thing: maintaining adult friendships isn’t easy. We are busy women. I don’t know a single woman who has an abundance of free time on her hands. Everyone I know is either working like a lunatic, or taking care of lunatic children, or working like a lunatic while also taking care of lunatic children. It’s hard to schedule lunches, or dinners, or even phone calls in the middle of the week when 90% of the time everyone, this author included, is so tired by 7:00 P.M. that it takes herculean strength not to face plant into a bowl of pasta before Alex Trebek throws out the final Jeopardy question. It’s not easy to keep in touch in a meaningful way, but really good friends will understand that sometimes text messages, or pictures on Instagram will have to be enough. We are busy women. We are doing the best that we can.
Those quick connections will have to be enough until you and your besties are able to steal away for a weekend together––which is what I did this past spring. My girlfriends and I spent the first two hours catching up on the basics: jobs, husbands, relationships, kids, and the rest of it pretending like none of those things existed. Forty-eight hours on a beach with them was all I needed to completely recharge my oh-so-very-drained battery, and tap into a part of myself I’d forgotten existed. Girlfriends are awesome like that. We made tentative plans to do it again next year, and I hope that we can make that happen. If not, no biggie! We all understand that leaving real life isn’t easy. We are busy women. We are also best friends.
That’s not to say that I haven’t had challenging friendships, or that there haven’t been people who’ve gotten lost along the way. (No plug intended)! A few years ago, I had a difficult conversation with a then close friend who’d become a major source of stress in my life. Originally, I’d wanted us to work through our problems. Then she uttered two little words that all but caused me to choke on my latte, “You’ve changed.”
I’ve changed? Since when? The nineties? Thank God! I’m proud to say that I’m nowhere near as stupid as I used to be. A friendship that expects, or demands, that you never grow, is one that you can do without. At least, that’s how I felt about it, and it’s why I haven’t spoken to her since. I beat myself up over the end of our friendship for a long time. I wondered if I should’ve done something differently. Then I realized that it was okay to let her go.
We are busy women. We are allowed to decide who we want to be without anyone else’s expectations holding us back. I have a girlfriend who used to shop with me at Banana Republic suddenly decide she only wanted to speak Spanish and dance in underground Dominican clubs in the East Village. Good for her! I hope she learns to salsa with the best of them, but we probably won’t hang out on weekends quite as much because I don’t speak Spanish and I definitely don’t dance. We now have very different definitions about what makes a fun Saturday and that’s totally fine. I’m happy she’s happy with her life. I don’t think she owes anyone an apology for becoming the woman she wanted to be. She certainly does not owe one to me.
We have to be smart with how we allocate our spare time, and we have to be forgiving of our friends who have very little of it. I don’t need to talk to my girlfriends every day, though I certainly wish that I could. I know that if I send a text asking, ‘are you free?’ I’ll get a response. It’ll go something like this: “I’m running around like crazy, but I’m here if you need me.” We are busy women, but we will always make time for our girlfriends.
That’s how we know who they are.
A fresh, funny, and insightful novel about what it really means to be “friends forever” from the acclaimed author of Bond Girl and On the Rocks.
All through childhood and adolescence, Jane, Cara, and Meg swore their friendship would stand the test of time. Nothing would come between them, they pledged. But once they hit their twenties, life got more complicated and the BFFs began to grow distant. When Jane eloped with her slick, wealthy new boyfriend and didn’t invite her oldest friends to the ceremony, the small cracks and fissures in their once rock-solid relationship became a chasm that tore them apart.
Ten years later, when her husband is arrested and publically shamed for defrauding his clients, Jane realizes her life among the one percent was a sham. Penniless and desperate, deserted by the high-society crowd who turn their surgically perfected noses up at her, she comes crawling back to her childhood friends seeking forgiveness. But Cara and Meg have troubles of their own. One of them is trapped in a bad marriage with an abusive husband, while the other can’t have the one thing she desperately wants: a baby. Yet as much as they’d love to see Jane get her long overdue comeuppance, Cara and Meg won’t abandon their old friend in her time of need.
The story of three friends who find themselves on a laugh-out-loud life adventure, Lost Along the Wayilluminates the moments that make us, the betrayals that break us, and the power of love that helps us forgive even the most painful hurts.