Recently I participated in the millennia-old tradition of Saturday morning brunch. As I sat in the crowded restaurant in its outdoor winter enclosure, I looked at the faces of all the other Johannesburg natives, with their lattes and rooibos expressos; we all love brunch. The perfect backdrop for young professionals to let their friends know that they are still alive and well.
The Saturday morning ritual of brunches in the city is the dance of the millennials. On Saturdays, we brunch usually somewhere hip enough to be "Soho cool" but not fancy enough to be snobbish. On Sundays, but not exclusively, we visit markets — farmers' markets, neighbourgood markets and such.
We listen to live music talk about our weeks, the stresses of work, dating and how well we are keeping up with our friends both professionally and lifestyle wise. This Saturday was no different. There I was, in a sea of my would be neighbours and peers, catching up. I have been out of the country for about a month, and to be honest I think most of my friends had given up on seeing me this year let alone this month.
Not to be predictable, being the hermit, I organised this brunch with a friend I hadn't seen in months, and someone I care about dearly. The easiest love to fall into is friendship, but it is the hardest heartbreak to get over. Think about it, when people break up sure they miss a lot about that person but it's the loss of the friendship that hurts them the most.
Romantic love often can't be helped. We meet someone, some physical quality about them gets us excited then we get to know them and our heart says stand still with this one, so we do. Liking that person is secondary to the haze of attraction, lust and then friendship. We can love someone even if we don't like them, that's why no matter what we show up for family gatherings we hate. A friendship is different.
A series of little, sometimes insignificant connections lead us down a mysterious and often hilarious path to someone we choose to be in our lives because we just click. We like them without agenda or need, we like them because we want to and they are deserving of our time.
How do we navigate a grown-up friendship without being codependent or worst, lazy? Have we allowed ourselves to live in a world of WhatsApp friendships? Replacing physical interactions with texts and voice notes.
Somewhere between coffees, wine, whisky, food, terrible movies and awkward birthday parties, we love them and there is a corner in hearts they will live forever. We let them know all the time that we love them.
I was once asked, "Do you love me?" I said yes, I love you but I am not in love with you. It's easy to love a friend, it just happens. During brunch, my friend, that I hadn't seen in months, said something that made me think and inspired this post. "I am so happy to see you. You and I have lost people close to us that when you said let's have brunch, I made it work because friendship is important."
This made me think, has my aversion to the outside world made me a bad friend? I have seen so much loss in the last years that I hadn't thought of what was happening to the people around me. In our teens we talked to our friends every day, sometimes five times in a day. In our early twenties, we found time to spend with our friends, the hottest clubs, restaurants and all the coffee shops in the world.
What was it about turning 30 that made us assume that friendships didn't need anymore work? How do we navigate a grown-up friendship without being codependent or worse, lazy? Have we allowed ourselves to live in a world of WhatsApp friendships? Replacing physical interactions with texts and voice notes.
Even when we are together there is always an extra guest that gets more attention than the people present in the room or at the table, our phones. We live in a world of phone friendships. Phone friendships make sense when your friends are in different cities, countries and continents, but what about when they live 20 minutes away from you? Are we too busy for coffee, or just lazy? How important is friendship?
Perhaps we just need to get out of our own heads and get over ourselves. Maybe it's time to put those phones down and go have brunch.