So far my year of intentionality is going well, but wouldn’t you know it? I’m having to intentionally make an effort to make it happen. Funny how that works. 🙂
One of my stated goals for this year was to find ways to hang out with friends that don’t revolve around food, which coincidentally helps me with my goal to nurture the relationships I have. I thought this one was going to be a slam dunk, but it’s hard to think of fun things to do that don’t revolve around food! I didn’t set this goal because I’m anti-food. Far from it! I just grow tired of our collective cultural obsession with food, and how it seems like we don’t get together anymore without the interaction revolving around what we’re going to eat. What to hang out after church? Let’s grab lunch! Haven’t had time to catch up with a girlfriend for a while? Meet for coffee! Want to move that friendship with the new-ish friends in your life forward? Invite them over for dinner! What to go catch a movie? Might as well grab dinner beforehand! All in all I don’t think this focus on food is inherently bad, but since several of my goals for living intentionally this year is to focus on relationships I want them to be the focus, not where and how and when we’re going to eat.
So I had two successes this week. For my first Friendship Without Food date I met up with a friend who is fun and outdoors-ey, who loved to run before I learned how fun it could be (I believe I called her ‘stupid’ when we met and she told me she loved to run. Oh, the Lord has a sense of humor.) and who’s fairly new to the area and has many trails yet to explore. I’m blessed to live anywhere from walking distance to a ten-minute drive from three excellent trails that exist to give walkers, runners, bikers, dog walkers, and stroller-moms a place to get some exercise. Most follow some kind of creek, and are pretty freaking scenic for being in the middle of heavily populated cities. So I took my friend to a new (to her) trail. We did an easy three miles – out and back from the park to a nice bridge that does a great job as a 1.5 mile marker. Good sport that she is, we brought my raggety-taggity dogs along, and walked most of it because my pooches be lazy. The conversation was fluid and easy. We stopped to take pictures of a white heron and when I got a rock in my shoe. Our talk matched our walking pace, and wasn’t interrupted by us shoveling food into our mouths or making the “sorry, I’m chewing, but I so have a comment to make” face we women are so good at. We both felt great afterwards, as we’d gotten to be lazy and sleep in on our day off but also were active and got in our exercise. I call unequivocally successful Friendship Without Food date.
FWF date #2 was with my bff, and here’s where the water gets a little murky. We had food during our date. (Cue dramatic music: Dum dum DUMMMMM!) We had dinner with her family (and her kids, whom I adore) before settling in for one of our long catch-up nights. I’m still calling this a successful FWF date, because our interaction didn’t hinge on whether or not we ate. We would still have had a great evening had I showed up an hour later and not been around for the meal, but as it was dinner was a nice (and delicious) bonus to an evening that was about us hanging out and catching up. With really great friends you don’t need much more than their company to make it a great night.
So that’s where I’ve come to on my quest to do friendship without food: that food can still be around, so long as our time doesn’t hinge on it. Meeting for lunch to catch up doesn’t count. Going for a run and deciding to grab a bite afterwards because we’re both starving does. Going to Monterey to walk along the coast and grabbing dinner while we’re there counts. Going to Monterey because we want to have dinner at that one place we went to once and loved doesn’t. It’s a fine line, and I intend to spend the rest of this year walking it.
Do you have ideas for FWF hangouts? I’ve been trying to come up with some creative ones, and it’s tough! How do you and your friends enjoy each other’s company without food?