French Lessons

Whenever I share with friends some new little thing I’ve been doing, whenever I say, “Did I tell you I [insert minor new thing – not minor like I’ve bought a handbag, unless it is an absolutely amazing handbag or I’ve bought a super expensive handbag of the Hermes or Chanel price range and then it would be more about having thousands to spend than about a handbag, so not minor but more a major thing such as how I won millions – but minor like I’ve taken up yoga again (which I haven’t) or I get up half an hour early and go for a walk (which I’m contemplating)] I think of a scene in the sitcom, Will and Grace. I think of this scene even more so when a friend tells me of some new little thing they’ve been doing for ages. 

See, Will and Grace lived on the same floor of a block of flats (when did we start saying apartments like the Americans, or is there a difference, like price?) and they were close friends. They shared all the minor tooing and froing of daily life. Then Grace moved away. Catching up becomes a big thing. Grace finds out Will isn’t eating cheese anymore. She’s devastated. 

Grace: You gotta call me when you go off cheese. 

Grace and Will – though I prefer Jack and Karen

It’s not about the cheese. It’s about not sharing the little things, the truely little things. 

When you have a friend with whom you interact daily, say at work, and then you don’t cause you move, you stop sharing those little things. You wouldn’t phone just to say, you’ve started morning walks. Then the gaps in knowledge of all the minor things become bigger. When you catch up, you talk about the big things and not the minor things. 

Later someone might say to you, “I’m thinking of joining X on her morning walk.”

“What?” you think. “When did that start?” You begin to question your friendship, “I don’t know X anymore.” And maybe that little jealousy creeps in. “Why does this other friend know more? Is she a closer friend than me? Why wasn’t I asked to go on morning walks?”

Yeah, so I’m doing French lessons on a Saturday morning. Now you all know. 

After French lessons I’m going over to a friend’s place for lunch. A friend with whom I used to chat all the time but work and busyness got in the way. She invited me over for a morning cuppa but I had lessons and she didn’t know. Soon she’ll be moving north and there’ll be even less sharing. 

So tell me if you give up cheese. 

5 thoughts on “French Lessons

  1. I’m trying to think if I have friends like that. And I do, they just aren’t the ‘way’ I’d expect is normal. I have someone I call a ‘work dad’ (due to the age gap), and he would know if I went off cheese, o rgot up early for a walk… I tell him these things and he listens. He doesn’t share as much (I don’t ask, but if I do, he does). And then there’s mum…

    I’m still ‘on’ cheese. Good work on French lessons!

    • The daily contact of work allows the sharing of everyday things. When you have someone st work who you click with and who really gets you, it’s a bigger loss when you move work places. It’s really the loss of daily contact with the person you love that hurts.

      Cheese is the yummiest and I will never go off it.

  2. That is such a lovely account of friendships. The cheese analogy is so true! It does hurt when a close friend casually mentions another close friend knowing something seemingly trivial…and you realise you’re missing those seemingly trivial intimacies.

    My big discovery while in France was video-chatting. I never used to do it before last December. Now, I video chat all my friends. I find it helps a lot to stay connected. I often video-chat close friends while doing household chores, or putting on make-up, or in bed…and we each see small household changes and updates we didn’t know had happened.

    I am thrilled for you starting French lessons! I’m too invested though. I really want you to totally love it and will feel a cheese-type moment if it turns out you’re just not that into it. Ah well! I hope you have a great teacher and a good group…or at least good lunches afterwards 🙂

  3. I know what you mean. My best friend at one point added another close friend to her life. When I met her, we had instant dislike. It was a strange moment for me: how could my friend like someone so much whom I could not stand! I felt like I didn’t know her at all. The friendships survived – but not as a group of 3. Ultimately I was glad she had someone else to pursue different interests with.

    I too hope you enjoy the French lessons. My advice would be not to be a perfectionist and just focus on understanding and being understood in a functional way.

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