My “Group” of Anti Social Friends

Aside from a couple of years in grade school, I’ve never had a “group” of friends. Not to say I didn’t have friends but I had friends from all different groups and whom didn’t know each other.

I can safely say that this hasn’t changed. 

I love throwing the occasional gathering at my apartment or on my roof because I get to bring all of my friends together, many of whom I don’t see regularly. As an added plus, my friends all get to meet each other (sometimes again).

A handful of my friends also happen to be extremely anti social. Which is totally fine. No one wants a friend who needs them all the time, right? Sometimes I think I might be developing anti social habits, too. And that’s okay. But because everyone is always “busy,” (though usually by choice) and we feel so pressured to also appear this way. But I’ve stopped caring about how I appear and feel free to say, “Nope, I’d rather relax at home with my cat tonight and cook.” I’d rather go for a run by myself. I’d rather sit and meditate by myself. I’d rather go to yoga by myself. 

One of my very dear friends came over last week to help me change my guitar strings (and he also changed and then promptly broke my high E string, sigh). I asked him what he’d been up to lately and he said, “Just working. And avoiding social interaction whenever possible.” It was so refreshing to hear someone say it as non-apologetically as that. Zero fucks given. My reaction was something like, “Go you, but are you depressed? Are you still seeing your therapist?” I think this is a normal reaction but let’s stop making this our go-to when someone chooses not to participate in social activities, okay? 

I used to be extremely extroverted but I think that was more just to get attention than actually liking being around people all the time. Maybe it’ll change again and I’ll go back to being more extroverted, but for right now, I’m happy where I am. 

KIT!

KIT = Keep in Touch

I remember writing this in everyone’s yearbooks at the end of the school years. Was I the only one? With all of the technology at our finger tips todays, it seems that, ironically, this has gotten that much harder. We have a zillion distractions and, since we write everything down or store it in our smartphones, we have zero capacity to remember anything anymore, (Full disclosure: if it’s not on my to-do list, it’s not getting done.) 

One day last week, I decided to stop thinking, “I should really reach out to that person,” and I did it instead. I reached out to a handful of friends that I love but haven’t spoken to lately. I made plans with two of them and a few others I just said hi to and found out what was going on in their lives.

It’s really easy to forget to do something as simple as saying “hi” to friends who are far away or who you’ve maybe lost touch with. But it’s also really easy to just do it in the moment you think about it – just text them and say hi. Or email them, or message them on Facebook. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could call them. But let’s not get crazy now…

Technology is great, but human interaction is better sometimes. 

Unfriended

Facebook is a tricky mistress. You love it, you hate it. You can’t live with it, you can’t live without it. Blah. But what happens when you end a friendship with someone but are still friends with, uh….. their entire family? 

That was what happened with someone I used to be friends with and I finally rectified the situation last week. It was “hard.” I put that in quotes because in reality, it’s nothing more than clicking a button, but whatever. I was completely cutting myself off from people, who despite being really incredibly lovely, I really shouldn’t have contact with anymore. Because it felt weird to still be in contact with his mother, sister, brother-in-law, and cousins when I was no longer friends with the person who was my main connection to them.

Should it have been weird? I don’t know. I guess it was more out of common decency (?). It’s not like we’re ever going to hang out again, so what’s the difference?

I clicked the button and it was like pulling off a band-aid. Except a bit sadder. 

Onwards/Upwards. 

On Saturday night my friend (and yoga teacher) invited me to see her husband’s band, The Salted Hand, play down at Fontana’s on the Lower East Side. It was kind of like a guitar school band recital for guitar students from the NYC Guitar School

All of their songs were covers and it was basically a concert of my favorite songs. They started with Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams, then played Amsterdam by Guster, followed by Weezer’s Buddy Holly

Their short set was awesome and the perfect way to begin a night out downtown. We went after to Excuse My French, The Mockingbird, and a late-night snack at Joe’s Pizza

$19.89 Tickets to American Psycho

I’ve been sort of excited to see American Psycho ever since I saw the video of their press preview. The music sounds different, the choreography looks fun, and who doesn’t love Benjamin Walker? I sure do. So, when it was sort of quietly announced that they were selling tickets for $19.89 (for the year 1989 when the play takes place) for six preview performances, I was instantly interested in heading down on a Saturday morning. I’d mentioned it to Matt a couple of days prior at Eclipsed and he said sure, let’s do it

We met up at 9:30am on Saturday morning to a line that went down 45th Street to 7th Avenue and turned towards 44th Street. We got on the line right as it turned onto 7th so we figured there were probably 100 people in front of us and it shouldn’t be too bad of a wait since the box office was opening in 30 minutes.

Did we ever misjudge the situation. The line took FOREVER. We didn’t buy our tickets until 12:45pm. Also: it was freezing. It was something like 32* out and I was wearing really inappropriate shoes. We took turns hopping into Junior’s and the Booth Theatre’s lobby to keep warm because I’m not lying when I say it was really fucking cold.

They’d really made shitty usage of the box office. I honestly don’t think they were expecting this many people to show up. They could’ve fit probably two dozen people in it but with the way they chose to wrap the line, there were 5 people inside of it at a time. When we finally were standing under the marquee, when it was fairly obvious what we were waiting for, I started telling passerby that we were waiting in line for tickets to a Trump rally. They believed us, no questions asked, and we died laughing.

We purchased our orchestra seats for the preview performance on April 5th and happily made our way to our respective homes and warmed up. It was worth it this time, but I will never do this again in the winter. 

Any Excuse to Color

When I found out they were making “adult” coloring books, I jumped on the chance to have my friends over last Saturday night so we could color like the goddamn adults we are. 

Now unlike lots of the therapy coloring books are claiming, I don’t really find coloring calming or therapeutic. Most of the coloring books have so much damn detail so one page takes a century to finish – and that’s stressful. 

Anyways, ten friends, some wine and beer, snacks, and some profanity-laden coloring books and a good night was had by all. I think the last person left around 1am. 

When I see photos of elaborate celebrations for who-knows-how-much, I always think to myself: all you really need is a good group of friends, snacks, and a few bottles of wine and beer for a successful night out (or in).

And some coloring books. That never hurts either. 

And it’s beginning to snow.

After an unsuccessful trip to the Pace University bookstore in the Financial District (they close at 4pm, wtf), I grabbed a drink some fried zucchini sticks at SoHo Park with an old co-worker (but first I raided the book closet and took those four books). It was so, so good to see her – as well as some of my other former colleagues that I ran into. She’s trying her damnedest to get out of the city ASAP and even though I’ll miss her like whoa, I know she’d be happier back in New England.

On Saturday morning, I went to my usual grueling vinyasa class and I’d like to say that my workout attire was called The Kim Davis, as it included as many clashing patterns and colors as possible. But damn was I warm. The rest of the day was spent grocery shopping, going back down to FiDi to purchase my sweatshirt, and cooking cauliflower fried rice for my dude and me. We watched the movie Unfriended on HBOGo and it was BAD. Don’t do it. Bad acting, bad direction, bad photography direction, bad story, just bad.

I met up for a pre-birthday (his!) brunch with Ben on Sunday afternoon at The Hamilton and we ended up being invited to try a bunch of dishes because they were being photographed. The owner, Mike, was bartending and he is Scottish and insanely cool. He also owns Caldeonia Bar on the UES. The Hamilton will become a regular neighborhood spot of mine for sure. It snowed unexpectedly on Sunday night and after some quality gym time, my dude convinced me (it didn’t take a lot of convincing, honestly) to watch some football at Amity Hall (Uptown) – also a really solid new neighborhood spot.

I tortured both him and myself by watching the Democractic debates – and I figured out how to use my HDMI converter cable which I finally purchased – on Sunday night. I know pretty much everything they already said. I’m 100% over politics. #feelthebern

More snow this weekend! So stoked.

Life Support

On Tuesday night, at the lecture that Gabby Bernstein gave, one person asked after the Q&A how to deal with super negative coworkers. She tries to bring the light to her office but since she’s only human, she gets into a funk now and then and when she goes to her coworkers for a little bit of uplifting, they’ll just give her more of the same she’s giving herself: “you’re right, everything sucks,” “today’s so awful,” etc.

This obviously isn’t helpful.

Gabby told her, “those are NOT your people,” and to go find her support that will be uplifting when she’s in a funk. She said she was in a room full of like-minded spirit junkies and to get a number or two that night.

Compartmentalizing your friends isn’t ideal (at least not for me because I used to be an oversharer, for sure) but sometimes you have to do it. You can’t change anyone else, so you have to change how you handle yourself and ask for help, if and when you need it. Realizing that there are things that you should or shouldn’t tell a friend, because you know what their reaction is going to be (and it isn’t going to be helpful). There are those friends that you can talk to about your relationship, and those friends who you can go to when you’re having a bad day. There are those friends you run to when you want to know how you look in a certain dress – their real, honest opinion. Then there are your friends who you know you can tell about a new biz idea and others you want to keep your ideas to yourself.

Neither is better or worse, they’re just different. We’re all different and again, since you can’t change them, we have to change our expectations. 

I used to be one of those super negative friends (and I’ll admit it, I fall back into it sometimes), but I realized that it wasn’t helpful to anyone in the conversation if I fed into their negativity – or instilled some of my own, whoops. I just try to look on the bright side (and yes, admittedly, sometimes, I still suck at this but I try). The friend may snap back and be like, “STFU. I’m being serious,” but whatever. 

If you know someone will be negative about something, don’t tell them. It’ll just frustrate you and if being frustrated can be avoided, why the hell are you making your life harder by not avoiding it?

More reasons not to have kids.

Last Tuesday night, I met two of my closest friends from my last job down at our usual watering hole: Von (on Bleecker). It’s simple, has happy hour, and doesn’t get crowded until later in the evening. I adore these guys so much and I miss seeing their faces every day and going down to the Calexico cart with them for lunch and waiting on ridiculous lines for burritos. Anyways, I digress.

One friend, we’ll call him D, regaled us with how he’s getting fucked over in court currently. He broke up recently with his girlfriend, with whom he had a child (he’s adorable), and now she’s taken him to court for every last dollar he has. She’s currently unemployed, told the judge she’s applying for food stamps and is going to work part-time. For some reason this sounded OK to the judge and he’s awarded her $4000 per month in child support payments. 

Let that number sink in. 

FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS. I feel so bad for him. His girlfriend is a psychopath. And what kind of judge says OK when a parent is like “food stamps and part-time employment it is!” Their son goes to daycare, it’s not like she has to watch him 24/7. 

Then our other friend, we’ll call him G, cautioned us against marriage (partially, sort of in jest, because usually marriage is super simple to get out of unless you own real estate together) with the story about G’s friend who was just out of medical school with lots of loans. He’d never worked a day as a doctor, and when his wife divorced him, the judge based the settlement that he owed her on his “earning potential,” and he was now to pay her $1 million. He has medical school debt and he has to pay his ex-wife $1 million.

I think the laws need to graduate a bit from 1950 and get with the times. Women usually have full-time jobs and don’t need to be coddled in court.

That said: still not having kids. And being very careful with whom I marry (if I marry) and making sure there’s a pre-nup involved.

The Family You Choose

The great thing about choosing not to procreate (besides having the most thankless job out there, not having to pay for someone to go to college, etc.) is that you get to choose your family – essentially who your friends are. As I entered my mid and late-twenties, I began to make solidifying my friendships with my kick-ass and reliable friends, since they were going to be my chosen family. 

You’ll always have your parents, and siblings, and extended family, but when those holidays come around that are in the middle of the week and you aren’t granted a day off (ahem, Chanukah), you get to make your own traditions as an adult.

Ben and I have a tradition for Chanukah that includes going to an old time-y diner and eating ourselves stupid on traditional plates for the holiday. Last year it was, of course, the Edison Cafe, but since the Edison is no longer with us (RIP), we went down to the East Village last week to B&H Dairy.

The service was fast, the place was tiny and crowded, and the food was just what we were looking for. We had matzo ball soup, latkes, and blueberry blintzes. It was delicious and I think it cost us about $24. 

This is one tradition that I’m thankful for and I hope we continue it for a long, long time.