Making friends is hard work

courtesy photostock via

courtesy photostock via

To attain the next level of friendship, you’ve really got to apply yourself

I appreciate alone time with my husband as much as the next gal, but as lovely as that table for two is, sometimes we need a larger audience to fully appreciate us. That’s where couple friends come in.

Finding a companionable couple can entail some pretty bizarre rituals, mostly involving awkward silences, fake laughter, holding ones tongue and expensive restaurant meals. Come to think of it, it’s a lot like dating, but without the biological incentive of mating.

And the odds of failure are even higher.

Take the fictional couple we had dinner with the other night. He told golf stories when he wasn’t on his cell phone, and she tried to get us to a Pampered Chef party she was hosting. My husband was appalled. No more.

From now on, all prospective candidates will have to undergo a rigorous prescreening process before being granted the sublime privilege of dining with my husband and I.

I really don’t understand why finding couple friends is so difficult.

Let’s start out with a few basic questions. Just fill out that top part of the application there with your name, address, phone number, etc. Under the position you’re applying for, you can put “couple friends.”

How did you find out about us? We’ve had great success with referrals from family and friends, and surprising longevity with some of those whose parents chose the same neighborhoods, school districts, and activities that our parents did.

Quite honestly, referrals from employers have been kind of disappointing. Most of the conversation tends to be dominated by talk about work, leaving the other two spouses feeling left out, bored or suicidal.

Now, let’s talk about household income. It’s not that we care what kind of place you live in or what kind of car you drive, and if you care about that kind of thing then you probably won’t want to be friends with us. But, as much as we might like to, we can’t afford to eat at Ruth Chris every Friday night so if you’re not willing to do Giovanni’s or Los Gallos every once in while, don’t even bother finishing this application.

And while we’re on the subject of dining, unless you’re ordering and eating for a family of six to our three, can we just split the check? I don’t really care if your burrito was 75 cents more than my taquito, and if you do care then you’re already getting on my nerves and I’m afraid it’s just not going to work out.

Do you cook? Well? Will you cook for us? If so, skip to the end of the questionnaire and we’ll see you on Friday at 7.

What about movies? We’re willing fork over eight bucks each to see just about anything (and get ourselves out of the house) but if you talk incessantly through a film, we’ll never go with you again (unless of course you’re my mother).

While I’m having nightmare double date flashbacks, let me ask you about the division of responsibilities in your household. If you’re a man who “baby-sits” his own children, you and I will probably have a few choice words, and if you give your wife an “allowance” we may come to blows.

As far as politics and religion go, I’d like to think I’m open-minded, but I’m not. Any kind of racist, homophobic or extreme right wing comments will probably put you out of the running to be my friend, unless they’re funny, meant to be ironic, or made while you’re cooking for us.

And if you’re under 30, we probably don’t want to be friends with you either. Okay, we do want to be friends with you, but quite frankly we’re just not that cool anymore. Can you believe I’ve never been to Couchez? Plus, my body has about a 1 a.m. curfew and starts rebelling against me if I break it too often.

What about kids? It’s not that you have to have an eight-year-old boy in order to be our friend, but it sure would be nice. Almost as nice as if you had a responsible 14-year-old daughter who’d love to baby-sit our eight-year-old boy while the rest of us go out for dinner, a movie and some semblance of adult conversation, maybe even a few laughs.

How’s your sense of humor, anyway? I know everyone thinks they have a good sense of humor, but have you ever had that verified by an outside source? We like to laugh a lot at our house, and if that’s not your cup of tea, well then, what are you doing here anyway?

Oh. You want to buy a classified ad?

Sorry. That’s the desk over there.

See, I told you it’s hard to make couple friends.

Originally published in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound on January 25, 2008.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.