June 16, 2021
Elementary school icon, TV personnel, and overall science legend, Bill Nye (The Science Guy) once said “Every single person you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” While his multitude of experiments and explanations of how atoms work never stuck with me, (Science is NOT my thing, Bio/Chem/Physics Majors you impress me to no end) this quote did. As a kid, you subconsciously think adults know more than you, and you know more than the younger kids and that’s that. But I have found that is not always the case. Sure adults may know how to file their own taxes, or how to powerwash the house, or even go to the dentist without crying. But they don’t always know how to question, create, imagine, and see the world through an unjaded lens as easily as children do.
I learned this lesson my first time babysitting. I was about 4’11 and 13 years old. So the three kids I watched didn’t exactly fear me by any sense of the imagination. Therefore, 8pm bedtime turned more into “once-mom-texts-me-shes-heading-home” bedtime. Regardless, during our extra late bedtimes over the years, I had come to learn many things from the little ones. They knew things that I didn’t. How to play roller hockey, how to play real-life Fruit Ninja (yes, it’s as dangerous as it seems), and even taught me how to be a master negotiator, a skill they seemed to have mastered by the ripe age of seven. It was then I realized that everyone I met DID know things that I was rather clueless about, regardless of age, background, interests, or anything else that may have separated us.
Learning and understanding this at a fairly young age is attributed at large to my willingness to talk to strangers. Yes, the opposite of what every parent to ever exist tells their kids, but I’m still here to tell my tales, so I think talking to strangers is okay. If you think about it, everyone you have ever come in contact with was once a stranger to you at some point, so there’s nothing wrong with a casual “Hello-turned-explaining-entirety-of-love-life” to your bus driver. Not that I did that. Okay fine, I did that. But hey, Carl provided sound advice to me which I am forever grateful for. However, if you’re one of those people that does not feel compelled to pour your soul out to an Uber driver, then let’s switch the topic over to things you learn from some of the people closest to you, your friends.
I believe all strong friendships come by establishing relationships with a multitude of characters, each bringing their own dash of individuality to the table for the betterment of others. Below is a list I have compiled of the variety of different types of friends I have been blessed enough to learn something from in my life. In my humble opinion, everyone could use these types of friends.
First and foremost is the “knows-a-guy” friend. While growing up in Rhode Island made this a more common occurrence, these people are the ones who know the in and outs of just about everything. Wait times don’t exist for them and any time you bring forth a sense of panic, they simply cure all anxious thoughts with a simple, and fatherly-like “let me handle this” mentality. Need a cheap used car? They know a guy. Need a last-second prom date, they have two for you. They handle life’s inconveniences so you don’t have to, and don’t ask for repayment besides a meaningful hug and thank you text followed by an array of loving emojis.
Next is the handy-friend. This is the person that will kill the bugs, stomp the spiders and get their hands dirty. They’ll try to show you more than once how to fix your own showerhead, and even with your greatest intention of learning yourself, they’re always there for back-up because well, let’s face it, if you’re anything like me you suck at all things that involve a hammer, wrench or insects, this person is a lifesaver. Between their Cubscout like knowledge and ability to actually understand an instruction manual, they prove to be helpful in more than one instance.
Then we move into the Type-A friend. As much as you may hate to admit it, everyone could benefit from a detail-oriented pal. Planning a trip? They have the reservations made two weeks early and have booked you the type of Airbnb that is perfect walking distance away from anywhere you’d want to go. I always tend to feel more compelled to get my shit together and do things more purposefully when around these types of friends.
In contrast, you also need the Jump-In-Puddles sort of friend. The person you take out and they end up in the corner of a bar talking to an older couple from the Midwest simply because they love spontaneous meet-ups and learning from all types of people. They never check the weather forecast because well, frankly, nothing is going to rain on their parade. They’re the type to convince you to go to get mimosas as you’re deathly hungover and still have last night’s mascara decorating your swollen face. To them, it ain’t nothin’ they can’t handle, and every day is a good one, whether it means a trip to Target or a trip to the Maldives, they’ll seize it all the same.
Then there’s the underrated, “It’s Not That Bad Friend”. This person shows empathy like no other and reminds me, that sometimes you just want to be reassured that whatever you did, whatever you snapchatted someone you were supposed to be ignoring or whatever pimple you have protruding off your face worse than Lewbert’s mole on ICarly, that “it’s not that bad”. While I know this is a band-aid solution and often times you need people to cross-check you with a sense of reality, I’d be lying if I said these people didn’t hold a special place in my heart. Besides the Uber Eats driver with my Sausage, Egg, and Cheese, they’re the first person I want to see on a Sunday morning to cure any scaries and simply remind me, it’s really, truthfully…not that deep.
Lastly is the New York Times friend. The friend who knows about current events, fashion trends in Europe, and can pretty much cover any topic from Crypto to the Kardashians with you. They keep you in the loop and are your very own news source. They are great to bring around all parents as they know how to find common ground with just about any person with any interest. These are the people who love to learn and inspire others to do the same.
Now I didn’t get to touch upon the friends who are skincare gurus, ultimate foodies, the ones that get your butt to the gym or tell you to pack a jacket because you’ll probably get cold, and all the other types of awesome people you meet in your lifetime. People who are better (and worse) at a lot of things than you are. However, I think it’s important to realize other people’s strengths, the insights they bring forth either from personal experience, interests, and everything else in between. Friends, family, strangers, and yes, even the four-year-olds down the street can teach you things if you’re willing to embrace them with open arms.
So the next time you’re with a cousin, a close friend, or a middle aged-gentlemen at your local Starbucks; attempt to be present, turns out you may just learn somethin’ you don’t know.
With love on this warm Summer Wednesday,