I have some amazing friends. I love them dearly and I want to see them as often as possible. In order to make this desire a reality, I had to master the imperfect friend date. Pay close attention to the following steps:
#1 Do not clean your house!
We are talking about inviting your close friends over to your home to spend quality time. People who fall into this category do not need you to run around making your house look unlived in. Fact – people live in your house. These same people may also be messy or maybe you were running around all day and there are unfinished tasks all over your house. If we wait for our homes to be perfectly clean and showcase ready to invite our friends over, we will get to see them significantly less. If you are like me and you really wish your house looked unlived in all the time, tell your friends “my house is a mess, but I want you to come over anyway.” Every time I use this line with my friends, they assure me they do not care about the state of my house, only the conversation once they get there.
#2 Provide food and drinks.
Now for this one you need to know your audience. My last friend date included my dear friend and 4 of her children. So doing the math, we were looking at 7 children between the ages of 1 and 13 at dinner time. The solution is kid friendly food with a few different options, so that everyone eats with minimal complaining. For this crew I chose a taco/nacho bar. Everything was out on the counter, the older children made their own, we helped the littles. Voila! Everyone is fed and we can move on to conversation or playing depending on which member of the crew you happen to be. The food never needs to be complicated or fancy. Invite everyone over and pick up Hot and Ready pizza from somewhere close. The company is the important part of this equation.
#3 Be Flexible.
Timing is everything. Timing can also be complicated. The ability to be flexible and move the 3pm plans to 6pm because of a birthday party-that is priceless. Meet on weekdays. Meet mornings for coffee or evening for wine on the porch. One of my dear friends and I plan friend dates at whatever mall or restaurant we can find that is halfway between us. We do not allow the miles between us to mess up our ability to actually have a conversation face to face. Steal the moments when you can because friendship is priceless.
Master the three steps above and you will become the Queen of imperfect friend dates. Focus on the friendship, not the outside circumstances. It may take practice, so practice, practice, practice my friends. Invite the people you love over to chat about life, enjoy your company, and just remind them to watch for Legos on the floor when they walk through the front door.