When you’re first developing a friendship, it’s easy to stick to big areas of commonality in order to build the foundation for a connection. Dating is usually one of these areas. Either you’re both dating and can swap war stories, or you can update each other on what’s going on in that area of your life. It’s easy to talk about and it quickly connects you to a new friend.
However, there’s also a tendency to continue to use dating/relationships as a crutch when it comes to developing friendships. Without even realizing it, your friendship gets no deeper than this level. You could list off every person your pal has been on a date with in the past month, but you’re not really sure what their bigger dreams and visions for their life are all about.
Even when you do have deeper, more connected friendships, sometimes we revert back to this dating/relationships topic without even realizing it because it’s emotionally charged. It’s funny and it’s frustrating and it’s on our minds. Why not talk about it?
This past weekend I headed into a girls’ night at a wine bar determined to go a little deeper than just who had a date recently. Truth be told, I’m sort of in the midst of dating burnout and ready for topics other than Tinder, ghosting, and exes. But I also am realizing that I’m 27 years old and I value when my friendships are more three-dimensional. It’s fun to cover dates and guys, but I also want to know what else is going on in my friends’ lives and vice versa, because that stuff is valuable too.
As we drank some pinot grigio, we did the usual dating update, but we also covered a whole bunch of other topics that had nothing to do with relationships. We covered everything from our current jobs to what we were like in high school and what we hope to be like as parents (whoa, deep). I left feeling like I had gotten to know my friends better, which totally negated the guilt I had about eating tons of pretzel bites and beer cheese.
If you haven’t done this in a while, I highly suggest gathering your closest friends or calling one of them and just talking about life. What’s great about their job? What’s frustrating? If they could design their life to be exactly how they wanted it to be, what would it look like? What’s their relationship with their family like? What makes them excited and what makes them scared? These are all questions that are an essential part of being a person, but sometimes we gloss over them in favor of who’s swiping right or left today.