The Year in Trying to Make Friends With Other Couples

You can’t always predict what will grab and hold your attention—a pop song, a politician, a personal tragedy. As the year comes to an end, Hazlitt’s writers look back on the things they were particularly preoccupied with in 2013.

Friendships are things that tend to happen, near as I can tell, out of necessity: hell is other people, but it is nice, all things considered, to have a hand to hold in the flames. Closely tied to that, though, is convenience: as eight-year-olds, we did not tromp across snowy fields to the Catholic school in the hopes that one of its students might share our deeper understanding of the Muppets, we made do with whatever level of Muppet understanding we could find on our own set of swings. Tell me you did not meet your best of friends at school or one of your jobs and I will spit right in your face.

Being in a relationship more or less strips you of both of these impulses: you already have your life raft to cling to, and there is literally nothing more convenient than the person you have to crawl over to begin your day. You grow more simpatico with every moment, until one day you accidentally fart in front of her and she doesn’t even care enough to laugh and you basically might as well stuff yourselves into an XL poncho and start harmonizing “We brought our own” when the Loblaws cashier asks if you need any bags.

At this point the friending impulse cocoons itself, eventually re-emerging as a desire to get to know people together. This is, again, convenience and necessity: everyone you meet, even the people you are mentally putting in the “seven year itch?” column, will have to meet this other person anyway, and though you always have your own friends, it is nice to have the occasional dinner where one person isn’t smiling politely through an extended in-joke while three to five others carry on like they invented humour.

It is a delicate dance, these new dual friendships. You lean towards looking for other couples, partly because restaurants like to seat people in fours and partly because conjointly inviting a single person back to your place for drinks feels like dipping your penis in their chocolate swirl Menchie’s and writing “threesome??!?” on the wall.

And unlike the devil-may-care breeziness of single-y friendships, there is no casual happenstance: you have to consider and confer on these things, and the strategizing carries with it the looming clouds of failure. Your codependence may have made you deathly dull or completely oblivious to your patently insane neuroses—or you might get too comfortable and accidentally Eskimo kiss in front of them, then be drowned by their cute-induced vomit.

Once past all that, the usual rules of emerging friendships apply: don’t be too eager, find a common sense of humour, get so egregiously drunk you start explaining to them that you have always felt alone but they seem like beacons in a cold, dark world, insist that next time, we’ll have to do this at our place.

I will let you know how they react when we fart in front of them.