Thursday, February 27, 2020

How to Show Up for Your Friends When All You Really Care About is Tacos RN

Being a good friend is hard, especially as an adult. We have so many demands on our time and attention: spouses, homes, children, jobs, and--especially--tacos.

Back in high school or college, your friends were probably your top priority. You had more time to really sit down with your friends and shove tacos in your face at all hours of the day and night, but now you have to carve out the time to be a good listener and really show up, which is hard to do when all you can think about is the carne asada tacos you're going to eat later, as soon as you're done listening to your friend describe her child's experience of being bullied on the school bus, maybe also with guacamole, though that can get messy.

What does it mean to really show up for your friends? Without thinking about tacos? 

Well, it's hard to explain, but you know it when you see it: maybe you send them a handwritten note, or a care package. Maybe you call them on the phone, instead of just texting or liking one of their posts on social media, just to let them know you're thinking about them and not exclusively about fried halibut tacos with a mango slaw and a tiny bit of sour cream. 

Maybe it means trying to make them feel seen, to validate their experiences and to listen without judgment. You should strive to truly BE in any given moment with your friends, even though it's hard to be present when you can't decide if you prefer hard shell or soft shell corn tortillas, and even then, whether you prefer the soft shell ones fried in oil and sprinkled with cojita cheese as opposed to simply warmed up in the microwave because that's faster and easier.

Think about what brings you peace and joy: Maybe it's your tribe. Maybe it's your village. Maybe it's being savage (when called for). Maybe it's your spirit animal. Actually maybe it's recognizing that loosely throwing around any and all of those terms is deeply problematic if you're not indigenous. So if you aren't, maybe don't do that?

Also maybe try to put yourself in the other person's shoes: how would you feel if you were telling your friend about your mom's hysterectomy and she was staring off into the middle distance, and when you asked her if she'd ever had an ovarian cyst she said "Huh, what? Oh sorry, I was just daydreaming about pico de gallo with extra cilantro and how weird it is that some people think cilantro tastes like soap when it is obviously an herb of the gods. Can you repeat the question?"

That would suck, amirite?

One strategy you might try is to eat tacos before you go to an important event like a wedding, graduation, or funeral. That way, you're thinking a little bit less about how great tacos are going to taste a few hours from now, and instead focusing more on trying to stay awake because you're in a taco-induced coma.  

The point is, be gentle with yourself. It's a heavy lift, but it's actually possible to be a good friend and also only really care about tacos.

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