Editors note: this piece was originally posted on Jacqueline’s personal blog. You can find the original piece here along with some of her other writing.
For some time I’ve pondered how to write this without it being something that makes people roll their eyes. I didn’t want it to be just another cookie-cutter blog post you could find on those cheesy websites but I figured my friends deserve it.
Months ago I was sitting in a bar on a stool watching my friends try to refresh their brains on how to play beer pong. I sat and watched as they all laughed and sipped their drinks and I couldn’t help but feel a happiness just being in this tiny room in the Blue Owl, having a terrible rum and coke, watching my friends laugh and have a good time.
Those who don’t frequent bars or constantly share articles about why they’re so much better because they stay in and watch Netflix instead of go out on Wednesday nights tend to judge us. “How do you have so much money?” “Do you do homework?” “Why do you only care about alcohol?” “Those aren’t real friends, they’re just drinking friends.”
WELL, I’ll raise my glass to those friendships that started in a foggy haze of mixed drinks or through sad/happy tears in a bathroom too small for five of us to be having life chats. Although some of our friendships did start over drinks I can say that these bar friends aren’t just bar friends–they’re family.
Those bar friends are the ones who became faces I see every single week, no matter the day. They are the friends that, believe it or not, are pretty up to date with how my life is going. They’re the people who have celebrated the job interviews and chased the rejections with whiskey. They toasted the passed tests, the happy dates, the good news. When we have bad days you can count on our whole little family to walk to the bars and stuff our faces in bar popcorn and bring our spirits back up.
They’ve held my hair and wiped my tears more than your average friend. They’ve convinced me to drag myself out of bed and get to the bar and have some of the best laughs and happiest nights of my life so far. They are the ones who make the most effort to spend time with me in my 4 years of college.
So yes, it may have started because of a drink that led to too many but those friends also became friends outside of that bar.
I’ve had too many family dinners to count where we all gathered outside of a bar and stuffed our faces with home cooked food until we couldn’t eat anymore. They’re the friends who blow up my phone all day in excitement to see each other. They’re the first ones in line to celebrate birthdays with dinners. They’re the friends that are willing to be vulnerable in the middle of the bar and talk about tough conversations we needed to have. They’re the friends who can seek advice about real world problems like relationships, family, finances and our future and then turn right around grab a shot and promise to enjoy the rest of our day.
Believe it or not, these fake friends/drunk friends/etc also send out invites to play volleyball (I never actually play but everyone else does!), to go watch a movie, go tailgate (yeah we drink there too but whatever), go watch the cyclones or even plan vacations or trips to concerts.
Some of my toughest days have been brightened because of these people. When we’ve lost pets, grandparents, friends, relationships…it’s these people who send the texts to check in and our just waiting to jump in and take you out and clear your head or offer a shoulder to lean on.
We may drink too much but I’ve never felt more love than the love I feel when we all gather together in a dirty bar to sing our hearts out, dance and drink the night’s away and laugh until we can’t breathe.
The best talks and advice I’ve had about what I want out of life, relationships, jobs, etc. has been with this family.
There’s no doubt we’ll all go our separate ways because that’s life, but I know I’ll cheer these crazy humans on for the rest of my life, as long as I can, because it was them who I sat with and talked for hours about the jobs and salaries we dreamed of. It’s those friends who wished each other luck before every interview. It’s them who have wanted to hear those stories and share those memories. I stand confident that they’ll do the same for me more than anyone I’ve met in college.
No, I didn’t get to watch as much Netflix as some or enjoy my bed like others. I did, however, get to enjoy making relationships with people who will forever be imprinted in my brain when a hear a song we used to dance like crazy to or sing as loud as we could. I’ll always remember them when I have a Long Island Iced Tea someday when I’m 30 (assuming I can still stomach one), sitting at a patio somewhere and remember how wonderful it was to be in our early 20’s and be carefree.
Not a lot people can shut their crazy schedules and busy lives off for even a couple of hours. Some people forget what it’s like to switch your life off for a bit to try and enjoy yourself and put your problems aside for a while to just relax. Well, I do, and that’s because of these people and our decision to go to the bars probably too much.
This may be cheesy. I’ve woken up from the best nights ever to the worst morning because my toilet and I have also become best friends, but I’ll never regret every $1 spent, every hour lost of sleep, and every Netflix show I could’ve finished sooner because the best 4 years of my life so far have been spent surrounded around this family.