Friday, June 15, 2012

{Friendship Friday} Happy birthday, Caren, and spontaneity in friendship

When I read MWF Seeking BFF in December (it was my last book of 2011 incidentally), I made a list of topics I wanted to talk about on the blog.

It's June and I still haven't looked at my little notebook.


Probably because I have my friendship focus on and so I see topics to talk about everywhere!

And I'm actively meeting and seeing friends all the time :)

By the way, get ready for the last Friday in June. I want to do a half-year linky where we can all talk about how we're feeling about our friendship journeys/ goals over the last 6 months. Sound good?


Part of my portfolio of faces I'm building up. I have 18 in my folder and haven't updated it in about 2 - 3 months. I want to take 50 this year.

Caren - Colcacchios (sp?) - 16 Feb 2012

This is my lovely friend, Caren. She also has boy/ girl twins - hers were born at 34 weeks.

It's her birthday today and she's celebrating in glorious Cape Town so she won't even see this today.

Caren, you are a very special friend to me. Always encouraging, always supportive of me and my work and you always tell me nice things just when I need to hear them :)

You're also my inspiration because you never complain!

Have a wonderful birthday celebrating with A ;)


So let's talk about spontaneity and how it affects friendships.

This is an ideal place for all you Ps to shine, by the way :)

I'm mostly not really spontaneous. Although I do like a general semblance of structure and within that I like my spontaneity to land.

I'm not the sort who likes every minute of every day planned out - I like a couple of things planned and then... blessed freedom. Especially on weekends.

E.g. when we travel, I like knowing a couple of things I want to do so I do have my list. On the list there are the "this will be VERY bad if I don't get to do this" things and the "nice to do" things. The first things get scheduled, booked and planned usually the minute I land and the others fall into the gaps somewhere, or not.

MandyE, I'm sure, is getting a bit frustrated with me because I haven't yet decided what I want to do in Charlotte except for the city tour (a city tour is always on my MUST do list).

So it can get interesting when you come up against different spontaneity styles!

In the last couple of weeks I've had some really short-notice friend plans which have been so great and I've realised how important it is (for me) to stay loosely planned so I can take opportunity of the spontaneity to connect with friends.

1. My one friend sent me an email (a forwarded one, not even a real one), I replied and then she said, "hey, we haven't seen each other for awhile - we should get together" and a few days later we had supper together and it was fabulous. This friend is about as structured as I am so it was a stretch for both of us.

She told me how much she loved a pic that I took, this one, and we spoke tons about photography. Anyway, it was just a really, REALLY nice evening.

2. I phoned a work friend about something last week, we talked about business and then chatted up a storm and decided to have an impromptu lunch the following day. This is typically her (she is a high P) but was a stretch for me seeing as I had my to-do list :)

But it was lovely, lovely, lovely. By the way, this friendship went through a dip for YEARS following a time we shared a hotel room. That's a blog post for another day.

3. I emailed Caren (above) a few days before we were due to be in her side of the world. Caren is more structured than I am and it took a lot of back and forth emails to arrange. I was so grateful that she could make it work especially knowing her personal preferences.

Yes, it was a bit mad with my kids there but we had some time to connect and share twin stories.

4. When my blog friend was in Jhb 3 weeks ago, we arranged a last-minute lunch literally days before  the weekend (I'm still surprised the other two could make it) and then the day before, I was again co-ordinating different logistics because of our one-car situation (and again, the other two friends rose to the occasion and made it happen).

I said my thank-yous but they really have no idea how much their flexibility means to me. Thank you, again!

5. I am desperately trying to arrange a lunch with a set of couple friends.

They are the most highly structured people I know and do not like things to mess with plans :) It's actually funny because I'm sure people see me like that but oh, I am a 2 on the scale next to her 10.

We haven't seen them since November and we had a plan on a weekend in April but their house move was shifted so that messed everything up.

We tried for May and June and now she's emailed me for July (when I'm away) so I said eventually, "okay, this is getting ridiculous. Let's change something because otherwise it's never going to happen". I suspect we'll have to move our normal plan to a Friday night (um, no) or a Sunday after church because the Saturdays are just not on.

My point you see what happens when people are too structured? And how much easier it is to connect when there's a lot of spontaneity and flexibility?

Louisa is one of the most flexible people I know. She just makes things work. And I'm convinced that it's because of that trait that I've seen her 5 times in the last 10 months.

Compared with the friends in 5 above who I've seen once in the last 8 months.

So where are you on the spontaneity scale and how have you seen this trait affecting your friendships?


  1. Personally I am quite flexible - we tend to make plans, sometimes at the rop of a hat. Others are aranged months before. But what I do find is that having a child in "big school" really complicates things. Saturdays are not as flexible as they used to be - and we do believe one goes full out if you decide to do something. If you commit to ballet, you will do the ballet, for instance. So yes, I will have to work around and a tleast leave St=aturday mornigs at most out of pre arranged plans.

    I used to love going to lunch with my friend E that worked near me - we used to sms at about 12:30 and literally stepped out minutes later to meet for lunch. Now she has stopped working and I do miss this.

  2. I don't feel that my friends and I aren't flexible - it just always seems that we are too busy with stuff that is non-negotiable (family visits, baseball games, work commitments, etc.). My out-of-town friends (closest one is 2 hours) take a lot of arranging because of this - my in-town friends, too. Busy, busy, busy unfortunately takes away a lot of spontaneity that we wish we could have!

  3. OK, Lady...I'm not getting frustrated with you!!! At all!!! Promise!!! Just want to make sure you get in what you want to do, and hopefully we can coordinate well enough with having my girlies there. :)

    My spontaneity has absolutely changed since the girls were born. I'm getting a bit better here and there, but most times it boils down to logistics for me. I rarely mess with the girls''s just not worth it. I know I will PAY if I try to, and it just doesn't make sense.

    But...if something works with the girls' schedule (either for me to bring them along, or for J to stay home with them), OR if there's a meet-up after hours, count me in!

    We're getting ever-so-slightly better with being able to do things spur-of-the-moment with the girls, too. A big part of that is that they're easier to pack up...even within town, I can just grab a little bag, and we're off. It's definitely freeing!

    I really identify with what you said about it meaning so much when friends are accommodating. I have one friend here in town that will absolutely make things happen so we can get together...and she is perhaps The Busiest Person I know! And, my BFF from home is amazing, too. She will work to try to find a way...some way, some how, for us to meet...even if it's for a two-hour lunch and we both have to drive five hours round-trip...seriously! That means more than I can ever say. :)

  4. Awww....happy birthday to your friend. She's lucky to be here this weekend - our weather is going to be glorious.
    Am just thinking now that we didn't even take a pic together...

    I am actually VERY good at spontaneous friend dates – this is how most of them happen. I seldom plan a friend date weeks or even months in advance. I usually decide beforehand how many I want to see and WHO I would like to see. Mostly it works out, other times I end up seeing someone who I hadn’t even planned on seeing! BUT. It’s all good.
    I think that it is important to note that I CAN be spontaneous because my husband doesn’t really go out. Neither does my MIL. I have friends who can’t be spontaneous because it really is difficult to arrange a babysitter at the last minute. And Cat is right. Kids in school , kids who are active in sports and especially kids who have a social life (i.e. many party invites on the weekends) do make spontaneity difficult.

  5. oh man. i'm definitely a lists and boxes kind of gal. i prefer to have a schedule or at least an idea of what is happening. having said that, i can be somewhat spontaneous, too...until it messes with the kids' schedule. then i'm a little more rigid. i've got two more friends who are moving away this i suppose i'm going to have to really buckle down and try to make some more friends.:(

  6. I'm flexible in times and schedules for the most part. Probably because I don't work ;)

  7. I love my schedule. But I've been trying hard to be a little more spontaneous. I went on a friend date tonight in fact that I only scheduled Wednesday. Big thing!!

    How does D handle it when you make plans with short notice? I know your kids go to bed really early but how does it affect him? DH likes to be supportive but if I leave him to deal with bath and bed he get a little antsy, often texting me about when I'm coming home and almost ruining my time out.

  8. THANK YOU for the lovely post and special mention! I had a wonderful Birthday in CT, but did feel a bit lost without my kiddies!

  9. Hehehe...some people would fall over backwards if they heard you describing me as flexible. In general people accuse me of the opposite. If you want a slot in my diary you can't phone me half an hour before and expect a miracle. I'm usually booked at least three weeks ahead. The thing with you Marcia, is that you plan in advance. That makes it easy for me to flex around it, and on the odd occasion where you've pulled something out of your hat last minute I MADE it work because it was important to me.

    I do have a bit of wiggle room in my general planning because I try as far as possible to only have plans for one of the two weekend days, and usually only on one side of nap time too. If something urgent comes up I can try and shuffle if I have to or if there's really no way around it I can cancel. It's not something I do often, people know when they have a date with me I will rock they forgive me the odd emergency if I have one. ;-)

  10. I am very structured, but I'm trying to be more spontaneous exactly for the reasons you outline. I want to see my friends more and sometimes last minute is the best way to do it. Plus DH and DD are very spontaneous, so they rub off on me. Last Friday night, DD had the idea to invite the college age daughter of the neighbor over for dinner as her parents were out of town. Her and her boyfriend came over, DH made dinner and we had a great time!


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