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 blessed...no, 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.
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