Last week, as I often do, I swung by the apartment of my friends Will and Marissa since I was in their neck of the woods. I appreciate those friendships where that can happen--no advanced notice, no date set in my iPhone. Just show up, and the door is always open. As I peeled my shoes off, dropped my layers, and basked in the warmth of their place, they told me about what they'd been doing earlier that day. They had begun to head over to the house of another couple we're friends with. Will and Marissa told me they called ahead, and our friend said something I've been thinking about ever since.
"We're having an argument right now, but come on over anyway."
And they did come over. And there was, indeed, an argument happening.
The best part of it all? It was totally okay. They had a great time together, even as the argument worked itself out.
That story made me smile. There's something I really like about that. Yeah, we're fighting right now, and everything's not perfect and peachy, but you're still invited.
When we invite people to see us at less than our best, we're truly inviting them into our lives--not just an image or expectation we've created for other people to see. There's something so relieving about doing that--for everyone involved, both the inviters and invitees. As this friend would later tell me, "What you see is what you get."
On a similar note, I always laugh when I come to someone's place and they apologize profusely for the mess as they scramble to scoop up some laundry or shove some boxes in a closet. 99% of the time, I never even once think the word "messy" when I visit. I think "comfortable." I think "home." There's no need for lofty impressions. No need for proper silverware and fancy plates--paper and plastic products are fine with me, as long as you're being you and I can be me.
Funny thing about that day is that Will and Marissa told me that they, too, had been arguing before I came over. I think about the possible trajectories of that night--they could have told me I couldn't come over because they were arguing. I would have went home, and they probably would have kept arguing. Instead, they let me in. We laughed. We talked life. I walked away with way more clarity on my direction in life and a great appreciation for my friends. I like to think they walked away better off, too.
It's hard to let people into our lives when we're fighting with each other, when there's a pile of laundry that hasn't been folded, or when the kitchen hasn't been scrubbed to a shine. It leaves us feeling exposed, or like the photo's being taken just as we sneeze.
I've found, though, that those are the best kinds of moments. Real friendships grow more in the deep soil of authenticity than the shallow sand of airbrushed smiles and swept-up floors.
I hope I can do this in my life--no matter what shape I'm in, how I feel, what's going on, I can say, "Come on over anyway."