Queen City Nerve

Charlotte's Cultural Pulse

Striking a Balance
Friend group drama is easier in small doses

By Aerin Spruill

December 12, 2018

I’m still in shock that I’ve been given this opportunity to be a part of Q.C. Nerve. But here I am, writing my second column for Aerin It Out. Clever column title, right? One of the masterminds behind Q.C. Nerve, and my previous editor, Ryan Pitkin, brought the title to my attention when, to my surprise, he walked into the Dog Bar after a long week of preparation, editing and distribution. The stress of success. But I digress.

Usually, I wait a while to provide a response to articles I write. You know, to keep my readers on their toes and to keep the material fresh. However, I will always make exceptions when my nightlife experiences push me in a certain direction. After all, most of my article ideas are inspired by my experiences in real time.

And while my initial instinct was to use this article to delve into the mind of one of my favorite nightlife doggies (which I’ll revisit at a later time), I decided it may be more appropriate to revisit my last column because I already have an update.

After all the talk about how challenging it can be to navigate friend groups when all you’re trying to do is enjoy cuffing season, I managed to find a light at the end of a tunnel this past weekend.

‘Twas the night of Snowmageddon in the Queen City, Corner Pub was closed, “Oh my, what a pity!” No, I’m not going to continue down that path. But it is true, the Corner Pub was closed due to weather and the boyfriend and I were feeling stir crazy. What’s a snow day plus work-from-home day without a few cocktails? A boring-ass vacation.

Luckily, one of my BFFs texted me to save the day letting me know that after dinner she and her boyfriend were planning on going to get a drink — little did I know one of the boyfriend’s friends had texted him with the same plans *insert friend group dynamic.* But unlike the drama I alluded to in my last column, this time was different.

Seven. I guess it really is a lucky number. That’s how many of us ended up meeting at good ol’ Smokey Joe’s Cafe for a cozy setting on a cold, icy night. My girlfriend, my boyfriend, three of his friends — one of whom is dating my girlfriend and one of whom is married to the seventh person in the equation, his wife and my new friend. Sounds very complicated, I know, and while it tends to be, it was actually a very fluid group of friends.

Aerin Spruill

As soon as I walked in, I inhaled the familiar smells and sights of one of my favorite dive bars. It’d been a while since I’d visited Smokey Joe’s and immediately I realized how much I’d missed it. My bestie and her boyfriend were already playing my favorite game at Smokey’s, “I Spy,” while the other guys were playing pool. I grabbed a cider and popped a squat on the familiar pew I always end up gravitating toward.

We casually took turns chatting one another up. It was actually quite interesting to see everyone able to converse on a wide variety of topics with different people in the group. And guess what else? We were able to spend the night building our friendships with little regard to drama. If anything, after a green tea shot for a birthday visitor, we were having too much fun. And the fire pit outside in front of Sunday night football was just the icing on the cake. Leave it to Smokey Joe’s to bring what would seem like complicated friendships closer.

By the time we were leaving, and praying for an Uber to come through, we were convinced we should visit Smokey Joe’s more often. Especially after we paid so little for our tabs it felt like we were getting away with stealing!

If you’re feeling like you’re biting off more than you can chew with your large group of friends, consider taking smaller bites of the drama at a time. While a large group of friends has its perks, taking a step back from time to time will allow you the opportunity to appreciate those in the group you don’t spend as much time with, but will also give you the opportunity to appreciate the ones who you spend too much time with.

The moral of the story is while marrying friend groups can feel like drama in the Queen City, they’re not all good and they’re not all bad. The key is to find balance amongst the chaos. And if you’re like me, you’ll discover sometimes we make things more dramatic than they really are.

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