5 People You Need in Your Friendship Fridge
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
If you tried grilled cheese when you were five (or, um, merlot when you were twenty) and fell in love, it doesn’t mean that’s the only food or booze you would consume for the rest of your life! Imagine all of the Malbecs and California Zinfandels and steak sandwiches you'd have missed out on!
Diversify your friendship pool. Avoid surrounding yourself with a bunch of like-minded people with the exact same views and interests, who are in the exact same stage of life. This might be one of the best pieces of advice I got when I was younger.
I've spent years stocking my friendship fridge. Here are the 5 people I think everyone needs in their fridge:
1. The Can I Borrow A Cup of Flour and a Bottle of Merlot Friend.
Some of best TV shows and characters are based on neighbour situations: Kramer & Seinfeld, Friends, Big Bang Theory, Melrose Place. There's a reason. With a lot of your friends, happy hours and coffee dates have to be planned weeks in advance. But with neighbours, the hijinx just happens - organically and all the time.
I can’t even count the number of times a chat in the garden has turned into a BBQ, into a party, into sorry, I just puked in your hydrangeas—again, into can you break into my house and unplug my hair straightener. What? I changed the alarm code and forgot to tell you? You need me to come down to the police station?
Remember when you were a kid and you used to play with the other kids on the street all day, getting into all sorts of shit? It was so simple, so easy, so fun. It’s kind of like that for grown ups when your neighbours are your friends.
2. The Well Aged and Marbled Steak Friend.
People who are ten, twenty, even thirty years older than you—who aren’t your parents (because nobody listens to their parents regardless how bloody and marbled they are)—might be the most important (and least stocked) friend in your fridge.
This is someone who has been where you are now and lived to tell about it. Their children are grown up, while yours are still shitting under the Christmas tree. They're mid-career or retiring when you've just realized six years into your degree and thirty grand into student loans, that you may have made the wrong career choice.
When you’re at a crossroads, agonizing over a decision, call up the The Well Aged and Marbled Steak friend. They’ve been there and they’ll get you all sorted out. They'll tell you to come over for some tea and say things like stop sweating the bloody small stuff, it's only money, no, you can't tie your kids up in the back yard until they're eighteen. More tea?
3. The Nouveau Beaujolais.
These fresh, young, spirited, often drunk, friends get you out dancing or seeing bands when you might otherwise be lying in the tub with egg whites and wasabi mayonnaise slathered all over your face. If you have a baby or young kids, you’re suddenly a mommy-talk-magnet and you can get lured into hundred-hour conversations at the playground about pink eye and chaffed nipples. (And you secretly kind of like it.)
But The New Beaujolais alert you to the best new coffee shops and breakfast joints in the neighbourhood that don't count drooling, lice-afflicted toddlers amongst the regulars. Yes, there is hope and life outside of children. And, as a bonus, you can sometimes offer perspective to The New Beaujolais, because somehow you survived your 20’s and all the bad boyfriends that come with it. Barely.
4. The Stinky Blue Cheese Friend.
This is the cultured friend who challenges you on everything, tells you when you are fucking up. This is the hardest friend to find; we all tend to want to surround ourselves with gooey grilled cheese. Blue Cheese are politically and socially aware and an evening out can entail mindblowing conversation or an explosive argument. Either way, at the end of the night, you are both drunk and still friends. Most of the time they’re your biggest supporter. But they will also tell you to go and apologize to someone when no one else will. This is one of the most rewarding friendships to sustain.
5. The Grilled Cheese Friend. These are your first friends. You met on playgrounds of elementary school. Or in the vicious halls of junior high. You backpacked through Europe together in white Birkenstocks. You bonded over getting your period, choking on pot, and dating all the wrong boys. Even if you go through bouts of losing touch, this is the person you call when you break up, get pregnant, get a promotion or just need a hug and a glass of wine. You could actually survive on grilled cheese alone because it's the staple that gets you through life - along with that cheap bottle of Merlot.
BONUS: THENUTS FRIEND: If you can find someone who makes you laugh and is a little crazy- that’s gold! Keep them in your fridge. They don’t go bad, they never get stale. Humour is the secret weapon of friendship.