Thursday, September 9

Breakfast Club Friendships

One of my favorite movies is The Breakfast Club. I love all the quotable, witty lines, but more than that, I like that these people who on the surface seem to have nothing in common, can find common ground (don't we all have family and self esteem issues when we are teenagers? yes, we do. let's bond.), and become friends. Will they stay friends come Monday when their allegiances to their cliques resurface, who knows. When I was in a high school, a place that felt very cliquey and often left me feeling quite ostracized, I would have said cynically, "Probably not." But now, I like to think they do. If not in high school, maybe they meet up in the summer after they graduate and become better friends.

This is because I love what I call "Breakfast Club friendships"--the bond between people who, on the surface, don't seem like they'd be friends.

When I was in high school, most of my friends were my fellow punk and indie rockers and freaks and geeks. I love these people. I always will feel an incredible bond to them. But now as an adult, I also treasure several friendships with people who either would have rejected me or I would have judged them back in high school. I've met most of these people at the bar where I work. It's a neighborhood place, kind of like Cheers, where people come in for the laid back atmosphere and generally are looking to make friends, not be judgmental. And instead of just looking at each other and concluding that for example the thirty year-old punk rock writer/bartender with pink hair would have nothing in common with the union carpenter in his mid-fifties, we start chatting with each other and discover a lot of commonalities, like we both love to garden and are avid readers. Would he have guessed that by looking at me and vice versa? Probably not, but we were both open minded and now are friends. And it's not just a surface level friendship either. He's listened to my problems and everyone in the bar came together when his son was injured in the Middle East. I've also become friends with a couple who is younger than me, who totally seem like they would have been much cooler/more popular than me in high school. Maybe we wouldn't have been friends then, but we love to joke together now. The girl brought me a big bag of makeup samples the other night and it felt like we really could have been teenage girlfriends in that moment. There are a bunch of others too, who have become my good friends even though on the surface we are different people. They have all taught me new things and been there for me when times are tough.

I think that is part of the reason why bartending has become my muse for one of the books I'm working on. I really like how I've built and watched others build friendships with unlikely folks. I'm sure it doesn't just happen in bars (nor am I encouraging people, especially under age people to hang out in bars to meet different people!), so where have you made some of your "Breakfast Club friendships" and what have you learned from them?


Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

If you encourage me to hang out in bars, I could be your "Breakfast Club" friend.

Alyson Noel said...

Oh, this is lovely! I had a lot of those friendships when I was a flight attendant. You'd have a different crew each time, and you'd head into the sky at 30,000 feet with hundreds of strangers you were supposed to serve as you spent the next 10 hours hurtling across the Atlantic Ocean. Once you landed, you'd spend 24 hours discovering a foreign city together. And when you got back to base, you'd head in entirely different directions. I met so many interesting people I never would've met otherwise!

Wendy Toliver said...

Great post, Steph! I met my Breakfast Club friend in the girls' room in my junior high. She was in ripped jeans and a heavy metal rock t-shirt, smoking a cigarette and I'd just been dumped by my best friend. Now she's a hot NY Harley chick and I'm a stay-at-home mom living in Utah! LOL

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Lauren please come be my Breakfast Club friend!

Alyson, that is awesome. I always wondered if there were different crews for each flight like that. Sounds like such an experience!

Wendy, that is awesome! Cool you were so open to meeting different folks in junior high. That is a closed minded period for so many people.

Amanda Ashby said...

Oooh - I love Breakfast Club (and St Elmo's Fire which I just watched again last night!!!!).

My new BC friends are my customers at the library were I work! I hang out with the teens because we all read the same books and also all the moms who come in with their younger kids - because we all have kids the same age!