Friendship Service Level Agreement (SLA)

I’m texting with Kim. Interrogating her about how she balances the demands of family, job, hobbies, friendships. We’ve talked about this a thousand times and I still think she’ll have the answer. She doesn’t.

Mostly I complain about my intense guilt. The guilt I feel when a friend who I love asks “when can we get together” and I respond “Ummm…I’m not sure” or someone says, “let’s have a play date” and I say “YES” when in my mind I’m thinking “Oh.my.god. when the heck do we have time for that?”

We start to joke about how much easier it would be if there was some set of friendship rules that dictate the parameters of friendships. Being in the tech industry I suggest the answer is a friendship service level agreement (SLA). She enthusiastically agrees. We brainstorm.

I exclaim, “this would be a great blog”. She enthusiastically agrees again. I must be on to something.

So here they are. Friendship SLAs as defined by an overworked, exhausted chic who apparently has time to blog but no time to answer the phone, return texts and emails, or agree to play dates, girls night’s out and other fun activities.

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Bottling up time

I sleepily glance at the clock.

5:28a.m.

FIVE TWENTY EIGHT?

I need to be at the shuttle at 5:36a.m. I hastily get dressed and gather my things. Elaine Bennis style.

I get to the airport with plenty of time to spare but the jolt hasn’t worn off. I feel rushed. Impatient.

I start peeling off my coat, shoes, belt. Head out of gutter, people! The TSA requires every person to remove said articles of clothing. A woman in front of me is with a flight attendant. She peppers him with questions:

“Do I have to take off my shoes? My sweater? Can I keep my cell phone? Did you see my ticket? Wait, my shoes have to come off? Where is my phone? Thank you so much for helping me.”

As our bins arrive at the end of the belt he instructs her. “Walk down that hallway. Your gate is the last one on the left. When you get there…”but she is nervous. Frantic.

“My flight to Boston is down there? Can I buy coffee? Is anything open? Just down that hallway?”

Boston. I pause. I realize I have time. I can help. Those are the words in my head. “I have time.”

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