It’s tempting to fall into habit. You know what you like, why should you bother with something else? I’ve taken that route more often than I care to admit (especially when it comes to food. I can’t risk a good meal by experimenting with something new). But if you’re not careful, habit may dismantle your friendship piece by piece. I’ve been in friendships that have slowly fallen apart because one of us was exploring new things and the other wasn’t, or the other was exploring something completely different. And how many couples have broken up with the words, “You’ve changed”? That’s why any smart advice for relationships will include the idea that it’s important to try new things together. And if it’s important for a romantic couple, why shouldn’t it be just as important for friends?
It helps you grow together as friends
Friends will inevitably have differences. Instead of just taking it for granted, why not try to bridge those gaps? For example, Jayne has been actively trying to get me into hard rock and metal. And guess what? It’s working. While she and I will continue to disagree on certain bands and other things (because neither of us is one of those personality leeches who will automatically adopt our best friend’s style and taste), we’re finding more similarities between ourselves. For me, the more I listen to Jayne’s awesome music, the more I realize that it was only a natural progression to go from the rock I grew up on to hard rock, and to go from enjoying the Duke Nukem soundtrack while killing aliens (for shooting up my ride) to wanting a metal soundtrack in my own life.
On my end, I’ve shown Jayne some of my favorite things, like the classical ballet. You’d think that might not be interesting to most young people in general (and you’d be terribly wrong, you uncultured boor), but Jayne came out of it excited (and moved to tears, right, Jayne? Right?) by how so many emotions and themes could be expressed so beautifully and clearly using only movement.
Both of us were surprised to discover that we enjoyed such radically different things. But now that we know this, we can explore these things on our own and have so much more to share together. Everyone changes, even a little. It’s important to help your friendship grow together, in the same general direction, so that you and your bestie can continue being a kickass lady bromance.
It makes you more interesting
The Economist had a great ad that posed the question, “Would you want to sit next to you at dinner?” I think that’s something we should think about more often, because the key to being awesome as a friend and as a dinner companion is to be curious about the world. Original actions are fun, but original thoughts are even more impressive. Keep those wheels greased by constantly challenging yourself with new activities and with trying things that you may not have considered in the past (within reason, guys. I will not be blamed if you want take up hitchhiking or drinking vodka through your eyes).
I think that within each of us is a puzzle (bear with me) and each time you do or see something new, a little piece falls into place. Whether it’s the moment you realize that your childhood tomboyish tendencies totally predicted your inclination toward rock (learned from listening to new music), or the moment you figure out exactly which traits you inherited from which grandparent (reading literary classics first and foremost, inherited from my grandpa Vladimir. Proclivity for learning languages, from grandpa Simon. All learned from taking an interest in history).
By doing new things with your boo, you guys will both become more interesting people and learn so much about yourselves.
So when Jayne and I housesat a home together (#LivermoreNeverForget), we had a million new experiences thrown at us left and right (the infamous mouse incident chief among them) and it’s no surprise that this brief time in our lives accounts for so many of the ridiculous, hilarious, tears-in-our-eyes-as-we-retell-them stories. When you’re outside of your comfort zone, great things happen. Take the time to explore it, together.