I recently came across a billboard in Hollywood featuring “the most interesting man in the world” that said something to the effect that people from the Westside were willing to make the drive just to see him.
Coincidentally, I posted a rant last month on Facebook about how sad it was that relationships and friendships in LA are a matter of convenience, and how most people don’t make the time for you unless you live within a 20 to 30 minute radius. As it turns out, I’m not the only one that feels this way. Friends and acquaintances who live about as far as I do from our home town, but in the opposite direction, echoed my sentiments. The post got 55 likes and 31 comments.
“People think if you moved away, you should have to come to them,” wrote one person who said she was always the one driving out to see friends, yet no one ever made the same effort for her.
“In LA, our relationships are defined by the freeways,” wrote another person.
“Freeways can make our break some relationships in Los Angeles,” echoed a local dating expert who told me to hang in there for friendships not defined by freeways.
“This is a sad but true statement,” wrote yet another.
I admit, I’d rather be a loner than sit in one or two hours of traffic, but I also crave the emotional intimacy that comes with deep and meaningful friendships. Sometimes, that kind of intimacy is worth the drive. We do it for people we’re fucking, but not our friends? Yah, that makes a lot of sense. Often times, our friendships last longer than our most intimate relationships. Yet some of us push our friends to the backburner, only reconnecting when that relationship is no more.
The whole reason I started writing about relationships was because I sucked at maintaining them. In some cases, I still do. In an effort to get better at maintaining my own friendships and relationships, I decided to make it a point to start visiting people. If people don’t make the same effort, well, then I know who my true friends are.
I get that sometimes finances and other logistics comes into play, like a friend I’ve lost touch with in San Francisco, but that doesn’t mean I should stop trying, right?
Connecting in Real Life (Not Just Real Time)
The first person I met up with was my Facebook friend Mark. We’ve never actually met in person but he’s always engaging with me on social media. We had a mutual friend in common and became Facebook friends that way.
He lives in South Bay but was in the Valley the following Monday for an audition. I drove about 20 to 30 minutes from Northridge to meet up with him in Sherman Oaks at a place conveniently located close to where his audition was.
Convenience was indeed a factor, but why should I inconvenience him when he was already in my neck of the woods, inconvenienced by a long drive for a short meeting? If anything, I helped make his time down in the Valley worth it.
Meeting was convenient for the both of us, but an effort was still made on both are parts by planning ahead. It was fun getting to know him IRL (in real life). We totally took a selfie.
Last week (or was it the week before last; I can’t remember), I made the long treacherous drive to South Bay to pick up my car registration. It was totally inconvenient for me because I had work to do, but getting pulled over for expired tags and dealing with a fix-it ticket would have been way more inconvenient.
Since I was in the area, I made it a point to visit my favorite coffee shop in Redondo Beach and get some work done. I didn’t call anyone to hang out because I needed to focus on work, but as I was heading to the gym for a quick workout and shower before hitting the freeway, I think I posted something inconsequential on Facebook like “I love electro” that prompted a text message from a dear friend of mine I hadn’t seen in a while since my location stamp said Redondo and she lives in Redondo.
We immediately made plans to meet up, and I’m so glad we did because it was long overdue. This is a friend who always checked in on me when she was worried about me during a really depressing time in my life. It was her simple messages asking how I was that kept me sane and reminded me that people do care about me whether I realize it or not, and no matter how much I felt like dying inside. I will always be grateful to her for that.
We met up in Hermosa Beach at a coffee shop close the gym where I was at and reconnected. It was awesome and we totally took a selfie, because that’s going to be my thing now if it’s been too long since the last time I’ve seen someone.
Thank you Abbie for making the effort to shoot me a text asking if I was still in Redondo that day. I was stuck in tunnel vision with my daily to-do list and totally wasn’t thinking about real life connections. Glad we got to spend time together.
Who will my next selfie be with? The next time I’m in your area, or you’re in mine, let’s make it a point to reach out to each other and meet up for coffee, lunch or even happy hour. And we’ll totally take a selfie to prove to the world that we do in fact make an effort for our friends, in hopes that they will make similar efforts for us too! 😛