Friday, February 26, 2010

take a bullet or a number...

I receive countless 'drum up business' e-mails daily.

Overstock, SmartBargains, Borders, Zappos and LandsEnd; to name a few. Normally I just hit 'delete' and away it goes. Zap. Incinerated into the spam abyss.

Granted, these e-mails more than once have led me to a fantastic deal or two. But most times it's not.

So the delete key and my pointer finger have become quite well acquainted.

But this one caught my eye. The marketing guys done did good.
Marketing: 3 Delete Button: 10,942

$35 covers a complete meal, including tip and mini-spa night with gift from Aveda. Targeting the female audience for a girls night out, the restaurant holds this gig every third Monday of the month. Monday nights must be hurting for biz.

So looking for some compatriots to indulge, I forwarded the spam to some of my local friends. See if anyone else was intrigued with the idea of pampered 'me' time. No children. No spouses or significant others. Just the gals.

Sounds fun, doesn't it? It was. It was grand.

As we sat a talked between courses, and libations to accompany, I realized how wonderful my circle of friends were. Melissa on my right and Eileen on my left, I felt, honoured to be in their presence. They both never cease to amaze me in their awesomness. Who knew Melissa could speak Russian? I felt like Jamie Lee Curtis in a 'Fish called Wanda'...well, almost. But it definitely strengthened my 'girl crush' that's for sure. Eileen is self deprecating, but she shouldn't be. I could listen to her for hours. She, for some reason, has no idea how fabulous she really is.

In my household we've begun experiencing the first, and I'm sure not the last, of female drama with my daughter and a few of her school mates. At eleven, she hasn't had much exposure to what can be the worst of female traits. Cattiness.

She has a 'friend' that one day is her best friend and the next doesn't want her to sit at the lunch table with the rest of the girls. It's horrible. And it's mean. We've had long discussions about the true meaning of friendship. That 'it's not how many people you know, or how popular you are, but the quality of your friends that matters most.' She had an opportunity then to express her friend loyalty and chose to sit with a girl, at another table, that had been deemed unworthy to sit with the rest.

I'm so proud of her.

I'm not good friends with many of the people that I've encountered over the years. I didn't maintain contact. There's a handful here and there, but not many I'd call close. I have acquaintances that know so many people, it's confusing. I wouldn't be able to remember everyone. That's not my bag. I like my close circle of friends. My bubble. Only so many can fit in here at a time. Those are the ones that I count on.

I'll continue to keep my circle tight. I like it that way.

A cohort of mine was filling me in on the latest of her wedding plans over lunch one afternoon, "I've got to cut back the guest list to 400! That's all the hall will comfortably hold." she informed me.

She's been planning her wedding it seems like for a year. Actually, it's probably longer than that. She was planning this event even before she knew her spouse to be. Every little detail is nailed down. Bridezilla? That description fits. God help anyone who's responsible for any detail of her 'most special day'.

My mind was spinning. 400? Seriously? I don't think I even know 400 people. Let alone 400 people with whom I'd want to share my wedding with. But then, this girl has over a 1000 'friends' on Facebook. I like her...but we obviously are so completely different, on so many levels, we probably shouldn't even be friends.

I offer, "Well, please...don't worry about me. You can give my invitation to someone else. Just make sure to save me a piece of cake."

"Oh, Nancy! That's what I love about you!", she gushed, giving me air-kisses across the table.

That sealed it. We really, really shouldn't even know one another let alone be having lunch together. What she doesn't know is that when and if the invitation did arrive, I'd mysteriously have had other plans that I 'simply forgot about but can't get out of...'. Yeah, 'Happy for You!' I am, but I'd much rather just send a gift.

I didn't have the big frou-frou wedding myself. We got married on the beach at sunset at our favorite spot to getaway. My daughter is named after that island as well. My then boyfriend had asked me, "When's your next weekend off?"

"In two weeks. The weekend before Thanksgiving." I worked as a manager in retail at the time and we were just getting geared up for a busy holiday season. No one got weekends off through Christmas.

"Do you want to get married? Go down to the island?", he asked over dessert.

I still think it was the veal. Johnny's on Fulton veal is to die for, but they did something extra to it that evening. We're out having dinner and the next I'm getting married. His proposal was unplanned. Spontaneous. I like that too.

My parents were traveling abroad and I had to wait for them to call before I could give them the news. I'll never forget what my dad said, "I admire your practicality." The ex still contends that my dad owes him $40+ for saving him the big To-Do.

But our wedding was romantic. Special. We shared our moment with just a handful of friends and family who all went down to our 'happy place' on the island. It was perfect...for me. For us. If given the opportunity to change plans, I wouldn't have done it any other way.

No way.

As I sat with my friends at dinner my mind was wandering as the conversation flitted around the room. Years ago I accompanied my ex on a week long excursion to award the high performers at his office. The destination? Costa Rica.

I was excited at the opportunity. I'd never been before and was looking forward to the experience. We planned on staying an extra week and explore the country since we were there. Lounging on a chaise, cool drink in hand, kibitzing with some of the other spouses, I soaked in the sun and my gratitude for the moment. My husband had gone for a walk with one of the firms partners.

I watched them approaching in the haze of the heat, strolling the beach nonchalantly. He waved as he drew closer. As he delivered a quick kiss and he said, "C'mon. Let's go for a swim, I've some news".

Knowing how well business had been for him of late, exceeding all their expectations, I figured this was good news. I was already mentally picking out new furniture.

"I've just quit." he continued.

"What? You what?....." I stammered, "What, pray tell, happened?"

"Yesterday, while looking around the people here that I work with...I realized I wouldn't take a bullet for any of them. So I quit."

Take a bullet.
Putting yourself in harms way to protect another.

I understood. I wouldn't have either given my limited knowledge of those at the firm I'd met over the years. No worries. The new furniture can wait. I'm sure he has his reasoning. I trusted his instinct implicitly. And admired his integrity.

It turned out to be a good move. Things were changing there and not necessarily for the best. There was a company wide shake-up with his departure. It's interesting how some things happen, without planning, that can change your life. If you listen. Are in tune. And react.

As I sat listening to these women surrounding me at the table the other night I thought, "For these ladies, I'd take a bullet." That's how fond I am and how grateful I feel to know them.

It's not the length of time that denotes a close friendship, but the quality of time spent.

I love that.
I love them.

It's good to network and know people, but it's the ones close to you that matter most.
The rest can take a number.

I've only so much time....and I have to make it count.


"As real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." ~ Walter Winchell


  1. wow, 400?! jeez. i dont know that many people either.

    'take a bullet' feeling is only for one friend that I have and ive had her since high school. i know what you mean and feel.

    boo is such a smart girl. girls are so mean.

  2. Oh girl, you have nailed it!
    and I keep my game tight too :)


    Peace ~ Rene

  3. Yup, all kids go through the friend issues, and have to start making choices - there are very few, 'lets invite the whole class so we don't leave anyone out' parties anymore. Sounds like you are a good example to her.

    And Nancy? I think your friend is self-deprecating, not self-depreciating (I recall another recent post! :)

  4. I've never been one to surround myself with friends. They're more like acquaintances, people to stop and talk to. There are only a handful of people I'd take a bullet for, and I'm glad you look at it that way.

    Besides, a thousand friends on facebook would be way too much to handle.

  5. @ Rebecca - Thank you for the correction. I wish spell check would help my brain! Ha.

  6. Every day I become more and more clear that we have, as you say, only so much time.

  7. i was married in front of 30ish people and i thought THAT was way too many...

  8. I share your view of friendship, and while I sometimes wonder why I haven't kept up with certain people over the years, it doesn't really bother me much. I love and adore the friends I have, and that's what matters.

    Cheers to your lovely daughter for her courage and her strength. She's lucky to have you as her mom.

    As for the 400-guest extravaganza, it sounds like the wedding from hell, to me. If it came down to it, I would have a heart-lung transplant to avoid the event.

  9. A few great friends (or even just one) is so much better than a whole lot of so-so friends.

  10. "It's the ones you can call at 4:00 am that matter"


  11. Nancy, I love this post. This is the kind of life I live with friends. My cirlce is small and tight...I'd take a bullet for them. The rest are mere aquaintances. And through time and distance those true friends pick up where they left off. It's good you're teaching Boo now what real friendship is about, so many don't get it until much later and some never get it. BTW, I will have something especially "just for you" at my blog in the morning. I hope you'll come by and get it.

  12. Wow. I've always felt peculiar at weddings where it's all about the wedding day (to the detriment of the 50 years of marriage after).Bet they'd appreciate some of that money back after a few years...

    As for people with thousands of friends on their facebook sites, when do they get time to actually interact with real people?? Seems crazy to me.

    You should be VERY proud of your daughter. What she did is a rare and wonderful thing.

  13. Roots either go deep or wide...but rarely both. I'm with takes a long while to get to really know close friends and that is what makes them irreplaceable.

  14. Beautiful, Nancy. Your friends are very lucky to have you as are we, who get to read your lovely words.
    Thank you for keeping it real!

  15. Hi there, have recently started reading your blog and i must say its beautiful in its simplicity. Like this post where you have written about emotions that people can relate to easily.

    It's true what you have said about friends being a tight knit circle; you can have many acquaintances, most of them worth knowing, but only a few true friends.

  16. Love it.

    Love the concept of asking myself "would I take a bullet for this person"

    Thought provoking as always, I wish I could have dinner with you... I might have a bit of a girl crush myself.


  17. Only so much time, gotta make it count; ain't that the truth!!
    I had 84 people at my wedding to the Ex, including the bridal party. I hear you!
    And good for your daughter; you must be so proud. Like mama, like baby!

  18. You are SO spot-on. Close friends I could count on one hand - they are the ones I have called at odd hours during the tough times in the last 12 months. The others were mostly acquaintances or distant friends, most were merely interested in what could I do for them; certainly not folks for whom i would take a bullet.

  19. This is a great post.
    In a less significant way, it reminds me of my own FB friend list. Small, uncluttered, void of countless people who ask me to be their friend because we sat next to each other on a bus once. I have friends with lists like that. I don't see the value.
    Have a great weekend, my blogosphere friend.

  20. Fabulous post, fabulous quote. I am like you, not a huge number of people I would call friends, but the ones I have, I cherish.

  21. Suzicate sent me over here, and I'm so glad.

    I love my bubble, my tight little circle, too. And I'm so excited about seeing a handful of them at a writers conference this week.

    Wonderful post -- glad I found you! (I remember the cattiness. I have four sons, so that's out of my realm now, but I do remember...)

  22. Hello!
    This is my first time visiting your blog. You can thank The Water Witch's Daughter for my look see.

    I loved your current entry. I can relate to it on so many levels. I inherited the BRCA 1 gene and formed so many rich wonderful relationships as a result. Most of the women I have not met. I drove approximately three hours last weekend to visit one of them that was 68. I call her Mom L. It was like we'd know each other forever. God truly blessed me!

    I like your blog formate. Very engaging and fun. Sophisticated too. I shall return again and again to get lovely candies for my soul!

    Much Peace!!

  23. I can't imaging my life without my close friends, a very small group, which is the way I like it. And the acquaintancess are nice too...people to see occasionally, but not people I'd call on in a crisis.

    I liked the story about your daughter and, having taught that age group for many years, have seen and been awed by that cattiness.

  24. In my life, I also have had very few close friends. As of right now, I don't have anyone besides family, that I would take a bullet for.(& some of those only because it would be expected of The last couple of "close" friends I've had, pretty much turned out to be people who were selfish & just used me.
    I feel closer to my blog buddies than I do to other people.
    I'm glad you have that close knit group to spend time with.

  25. What an awesome post! I think I have about 40 "friends" on facebook. (And that includes quite a few acquaintances.) I wonder at the 1000 FB friends too! I hate getting chainletters telling me to pass this on to 20 freinds. I have maybe 10 friends, the kind you'd take a bullet for! I have 2 kids and 6 grandkids, and my husband, and my dogs, and my cat! That's the inner circle!

  26. I stumbled here from thecallmejanes, and I've read the whole first page. Love this post, love your blog, I'll be checking back in as I love how and what you write. Nice to meet you, Mel.

  27. Now I'm sitting here wondering which of my friends I'd take a bullet for... and which ones would take one for me.

  28. Nancy, this is a wonderful post. Kudos to your daughter for doing such a brave thing. Junior high is a terrible time for girls who care about honest-to-goodness friendship. She's lucky that you talk with her about it in a meaningful way.

    There was a time when I had tons of acquaintances, but before long I realized that what I needed was a few really close friends...the kind you speak of. Most have retired and moved away, and I really miss them!

  29. Hey Nancy! 400?! I don't even know 40 people, let alone like that many. Taking bullets? I wouldn't hesitate for a handful, and I like to think we'd get into an argument about which one of us would have the honour. I like this post a lot; it's a reminder to me how frighteningly few people I feel close to. Indigo x

  30. Holy crap. We (as in, mostly my finacee) are planning our wedding now. Our guest list is nowhere close to 400. The list gets bigger when you count people's kids and stuff... but still nowhere close.

    I know what you mean about the friend thing, too. I have some very close friends who are like a second family to me. I'd drop anything I was doing if they needed something. I know a ton of people... but you have to take care of the important ones first.

  31. That's lovely. True friendship is at once rare and precious, a gift. I can only hope that there are one or two souls in this world who wouuld take a bullet for me...

  32. First, I'd like to say that emails from Zappos usually contain some amount of happiness...

    Secondly, that sounds truely wonderful. I have only two girls in the world that I feel this way about and would do anything for. And I am very homesick for them after reading your blog. But I'm glad you have a comfort zone...

  33. I feel for your daughter. Mine is going through very similar things as well already at nine.

    This is such a speaking post to the value of friendship. I have a cor group of four that I feel are the friends I've waited my whole life to find. How lucky you are to have found the same thing.

  34. My daughter too is learning the cattiness of girls. I have found that it does me no good to try and explain it and sadly enough sometimes I just tell her that it's girl drama but it will blow over.

    I, also, have only a handful of friends that I would take a bullet for but I am blessed to have them and would not trade them for the world.

  35. How true! I like a small circle of close friends. Beyond them, they're not really friends, but acquaintances.

    We got married in our backyard, in the garden. We did our own catering, and invited our 30 friends. No one from out of state, just locals. And no family (they're all out of state, or dead). That made it SO much easier, though it pissed off the ones who were still living. That's okay. We never see them anyway.

  36. Hubby and I got married in the park with about 30 friends and family. I don't even think I have know 400 in my life!

    Great post! I have my small circle too and very few ever get added.

  37. How true you are. It's not quantity, it's quality. You and your girls are very lucky to have each other. More than anyone, it's them we go to in a crisis.

    Great post!

    As far as weddings and the ex went all Viva Las Vegas style.

  38. Thanks for the great post! So true...quality, not quantity.

  39. I love the quote you had at the end :) As for the friend who blew kisses at you, I can only say WTH?! I'm sorry but the only place I've ever seen that is on TV and that's where it belongs! I must admit I laughed and thought to myself, "Nancy is friends with this person?" I get it though, there are people who come into our lives for some reason or other and it isn't always those we would necessarily pick.

    Have a great week :)

  40. This was a wonderful post!!! I know lots of people but only have a few real friends and I like it that way!! Sounds like you are giving your daughter wonderful advice. I have two grown daughters and it was so hard when they were teens!

  41. I totally get it. I do not have a lot of very close friends- I thought it was because we moved so much but I think I am just very picky? I do not take being let down very well so I am picky with whom I trust my most personal thoughts and secrets.
    400 people is way too much- and over 1000 FB "friends"??

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