There's the best friend from childhood (Nikki), high school (Ann), and the college best friend who becomes more like the sister you never had (Rachel). There's the best friend from work (Amy), from your days waiting tables (Doris and Jenn), the girls who have known you so long that if you didn't see them for six years you could pick up tomorrow without missing a beat (Jen and Elizabeth), and the best friends who get together once every month or two and eat all of the foods while laying their souls bare (Lane and Kristin).
I have found though that as I age, I am less likely to enter into these Beaches-esque friendships that came so naturally in my youth. Partly because priorities shift -- there isn't as much time to contemplate the inner workings of the universe and your latest crush with a new friend when you're married with a full-time job and a few kids -- but that's not the only reason. It's also a lot of work, getting to know someone. When you're young, there isn't so much backstory to get caught up on before you hit BFF status; there aren't so many potential pitfalls in terms of likes, beliefs, and common ground. I miss the days of "You're in 4th grade? I'm in 4th grade! You like stickers?? Whoa...I also like stickers!!! Let's swap stickers and be best friends."
So, in a nerd effort to cut to the chase, I've come up with a questionnaire. Much like an online dating service, I've mapped out some key questions whose answers would let me know if that new butterfly-feeling friendship is worth cultivating, or if we should just let it remain a passing smile when we pick up our kids at the same time and then go home to our separate lives.
The questions themselves reveal a lot about me, the questioner, I'm sure. We aren't going to bond over what church you go to, or your favorite sports team, but if you have a line on a secret dish at a restaurant, or a new author I'm about to fall for, then we're in it for the long haul.
Without further ado, I present:
"The New Adult Friendship Compatibility Questionnaire"
aka "The New Friend Test"
aka "What's your major? For The Over 30 Set"
To keep it brief, we're using Twitter rules for answers, 140 characters or less. And...go!
- Married or single? Married eight years.
- Kids? 2 boys, three and six.
- Pets? 2 dogs, 2 cats, 6 goats. Bunch of chickens and bees, but they aren't really pets.
- Job? Executive producer by day, hobby farmer by night. Or mixed in the day.
- Age? 37 (I thought I was turning 38 last year, but I was wrong. Bonus year!)
- Sign? Sagittarius, but I don't put much stock in that. I didn't even spell it right without autocorrect.
FOOD / DRINK:
- Favorite restaurant? Rioja. Or Mercantile. Oh! Or Comida for tacos or Bones for noodles. Unless it's a crap chain, I pretty much like them all.
- What do you order? Anything seasonal or involving risotto. For brunch I always order the Eggs Benedict, scrambled not poached.
- What's the best thing you can cook? I sear a mean scallop. And there isn't a pasta/sauce combo I can't handle.
- Last wish meal? Mussels and frites at Bistro Vendome, big fat bottle of red, Gabe telling me stupid jokes about the uptight group of businessmen at the neighboring table. Perfection.
- Favorite drink? (Quick, over-140 character aside: My friend Kristin recently went to a "get to know your coworkers" fiasco, and during small group breakout her group had to share their favorite drink. Kristin went first and gave what I am sure was a lovely, evocative answer involving the dominant characteristics that come into play when she selects the perfect wine to match her mood and meal. The group response was stone faced. The remaining 9 answers ranged from coffee to strawberry lemonade to -- no kidding -- water. Kristin's coworkers will never be invited to our supper club.) Gin and lemonade in the summer, vanilla vodka and ginger ale in the winter. Wine when it's in my hand.
- Favorite all time? The Grapes of Wrath. I've read it 4 times.
- Recent favorite(s)? Kitchens of the Great Midwest: A Novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves: A Novel, The Engagements.
- Current read? American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest. It's kind of boring so far, so I think I'll not finish it (a very new habit of mine that I love), and move on to The Song of Achilles.
- What book or author do you hate? Nicholas Sparks. Ugh. The worst.
- What's your guilty pleasure read? YA novels by John Green, and anything by Blake Crouch.
- Car radio presets? 90.1 CPR/NPR, 97.3 KBCO ("world class rock," same playlist as when I was in college!), 93.3 KTCL (slightly more hip modern rock), 98.5 KYGO (for a country fix).
- What was the last concert you went to? Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night sweats. At Red Rocks! I love him so much. So so much.
- Favorite song ever? Angel From Montgomery. Bonnie Raitt's is the standard, but Delta Spirit just covered it at a concert this summer with Julie Davis from The Wheel and KILLED IT. Amazing.
- Favorite song now? Girl Crush. Which I only ever listened to because I saw an article that country radio was boycotting it because they thought it was a devil lesbian song, so of course I checked it out. #dummies
- Guilty pleasure song? Taylor Swift's "Mean"...as sung by the cast of Glee. Yep. Shut up. Why you gotta be so mean?
- What band sums up your youth? Tie between Indigo Girls and Counting Crows.
- What 5 songs would you put on a mix tape right now? You Should've Seen The Other Guy (Nathaniel Rateliff), American Idiot (Green Day), Hold On (Alabama Shakes), Girl From the North Country (Bob Dylan), Murder in the City (Brandi Carlile).
- Who'd you vote for in the last presidential election? Obama!!
- What's the most pressing political issue we are facing? Syrian refugees abroad; universal access to basic healthcare and safe, nutritious food at home.
- Where do you frequent and/or boycott with your dollars? Boycott Walmart, Chick-fil-A, most all fast food. Frequent local restaurants, Vitamin Cottage, Ela Family Farms Organic CSA...and Amazon, if we're being totally honest. I love me some Amazon Prime.
- You have 4 hours alone, what do you do? I'm going to assume that all the animals are cared for, the boys are with Gabe, and the house is clean. The to do list is all checked off. Then I pour a giant glass of wine, grab my Kindle, and lock myself in my room for 4 solid hours and read a book without interruption or falling asleep.
- What hobby do you wish you'd made time for? Painting. I miss it. But apparently not enough to pick up a brush.
- Itinerary for your ideal weekend? Saturday I make biscuits and gravy after sleeping in (thanks Gabe!), we do some farm chores with the boys in the day, and let the animals graze while we all play outside. For dinner we make pizza together and then watch a "classic" movie from my youth all piled on the couch under one blanket. On Sunday we can go for a hike, then the boys have dinner with their granny and grandpa while Gabe and I catch a movie and have dinner out. Asleep by 9 pm. Bliss.
- What was your latest binge watch? Justified on Amazon Prime. I'm just starting season 5, which I hear is the worst season.
DON'T THINK, JUST BLURT:
- Heels or flats? Flats.
- Makeup or bare? Bare.
- Appetizers or dessert? Both.
- Skim or whole? Whole.
- Was it blue and black, or white and gold? Blue and black.
- Movie or play? Movie. (I almost lied and said play on my own test.)
- Go for a run or mix a drink? Drink.
- Flowers or tomatoes? Tomatoes.
- Camping or glamping? Camping.
- Dirty or clean? Dirty.
- Coffee or tea? Tea.
- Large party or small get together? Small get together.
Done! I showed you mine. Now, I dare you to show me yours. Because come on, no matter how old you get, truth or dare is the foundation of any true friendship.
(Question...Is it going to be weird when I start handing these out at PTO meetings and neighborhood barbecues? Or awesome? Yeah, that's what I thought. Awesome.)