For some reason or another, I’ve always been “the planner.” When it comes to my group of friends, anywhere I go..I’m always the working out the logistics involved in getting people together..be it for dinner on a Friday night, or for a semi-spontaneous weekend in NYC. I’ve always enjoyed this role (probably cause I’m slightly controlling ;)),.. but I have to admit, that it’s not without its frustrations.
Now, it just so happens that most of my friends here in Miami work full-time jobs and are also in school full-time, as was the case with me up until I left for Beirut a year and a half ago. The other thing I realized is that 95% of my friends work jobs with non-traditional working hours. Not only that, but their work schedule changes week to week, and sometimes day to day..(again, as was the case with me.) So, it’s not uncommon for them to work 9-6 one day, 5-10 the other, and 2-8 the next..
So picture this..6 friends..all with different work schedules, school schedules, family, boyfriend, and personal obligations..and you can see where it gets difficult for me (aka. the planner) to somehow find a time, date, and place that works for everyone. NOT TO MENTION, we live between 30 – 40 minutes away from each other depending on traffic!!
All this to say, I’ve been home for a few weeks now and have only managed to see 2 of my friends on 1 single occasion. I got to a point where I had to resort to using Facebook and email to plan a night out since phone and text were just proving wayyy too complicated. Either my friends are just THAT busy, or they don’t want to see me! (I seriously hope it’s the former and not the latter!)
This insane amount of back and forth (mind you, these are people I’ve known for at least 10 years), made me think about what I like to call “the logistics of friendship…” and how proximity and lifestyle really do play a role in how relationships progress in any given place.
You see, when it comes to friendships, and the rate at which they develop, my experience in Lebanon has been completely opposite from what I just described. Any given night, I can put my planning skills to work and guarantee that about 8 – 10 people will show up…Hell, I think it’s even easier to plan a 35 person tweetup in 2 days in Beirut, than it is to try and get 3 of my friends in Miami to meet at the same place within a 2 week period!
The one thing I have to say is that because it’s so difficult to come up with a plan that is convenient to everyone..usually when it’s set..it’s SET. The cancellation rate is significantly lower than what I’ve experienced in Beirut..
However….when I compare Miami vs. Beirut in terms of the frequency that I see my friends/hangout/socialize..I have to say that Beirut takes the cake by farrrrrr! Even if (some) people have the tendency to cancel frequently, it really isn’t hard to come up with something equally as exciting in under 30 minutes. Ohhhh,,the perks of living in a small city..
When I really think about it, I must go out an average of 5-6 times a week (what can I say? I’m a social butterfly! ;)), And the other thing I noticed is that Lebanese people are nowhere near as anal about only going out/partying only on weekends. During the week? Weekend? It’s the same to the Lebanese! Which, I looooove by the way! Work hard and play HARDER.
To any of you who have lived abroad at some point in your life..what are the differences you’ve experienced in terms of the dynamics of friendship between that place and Lebanon? To those of you who haven’t, how do you go about planning nights out with your friends? Are you the planner among your group of friends?