How to Stay Friends Once Your Girlfriends Settle Down with Their Pet Rocks, by Ginny Hogan
Growing up is difficult. We all reach adulthood at different points. For me personally, a lot of my friendships started to change at that awkward age where my friends settled down with their pet rocks. I learned a lot about myself and how to keep my friendships intact, and I wanted to share some advice here.
• Acknowledge that friendships change when you get older. I know it feels like yesterday that you and all your girlfriends were dancing on tables at Sigma Chi together. You still think fondly of the days when “on the rocks” meant “ice” and not that her pet rock was paying for dinner, but you have to acknowledge that people change. Just because your college BFF spends Saturday nights with her pet rock doesn’t necessarily mean she’s delusional.
• Enjoy the perks of having friends with pet rocks. Having friends with pet rocks can be great; you get all the fun of owning a pet rock with none of the responsibility! For example, the other day I visited my friend Katie and her pet rock Stevie. I was scared I’d drop Stevie, but she assured me that it was okay to drop it because it’s a rock. I had such a good time, and I didn’t even have to see Stevie on a day when it had missed its nap! Because it’s a rock, so it’s never not asleep.
• Suggest pet rock-friendly activities for the group. Don’t invite all your friends to the beach to skip stones. This is insensitive to those with pet rocks.
• Don’t make a point of how different your lives are now. Your friends know they’ve changed since they got pet rocks. You don’t need to point this out by reminding them that you don’t consider something a pet unless it breathes. Remember that time you kept your dead gerbil in your freezer? This is like that.
• Do NOT ask your friends if they’re expecting another pet rock until they’ve told you they are. This is body-shaming.
• It’s “pet rocks” not “pets rock.” This is a critical grammatical distinction.
• Be open with your partner about how you feel about pet rocks. A lot of women are getting social pressure not only from their friends but also from their romantic partners to get a pet rock. When I was giving birth to my second child, my husband looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Sweetheart, are you ready to commit to a pet rock?” As I gazed deeply at the man I’d promised to spend my life with, while I expelled a second human being from me, I said “I’m in labor right now, can we talk about this another time?” Later, I told him I wasn’t ready for a pet rock because I hadn’t even tried Molly yet. This kind of open communication is key.
• No matter how supportive your partner is, do not refer to him or her as your “rock.” If you call the people you love rocks, this minimizes the feelings of people who actually love rocks. Also don’t try to relate to your friends’ struggles by talking about how you accidentally kicked a rock into a gutter that one time.
• Don’t let your friends make you feel bad about not having a pet rock. Make sure you stand up for yourself when your friends try to rock-shame you. The other day, I posted an Instagram of my older daughter coughing up colic and captioned it “coughing up colic #adulting.” Do you know what my friend Tracy did? She commented, “you won’t even know what #adulting is until you get a pet rock.” She acts like the only possible fulfillment in life comes from having a pet rock! I told her that I can live a perfectly happy, satisfying adult life without one. It’s the little things I love, like cooking, knitting, yoga, my extremely successful and lucrative career, and raising two children. I don’t care what my friends say, I don’t need a rock to be a fully actualized woman!
• Make new friends. This is important. As nice as it is to hang on to your old friends, you want to make sure you have some friends who don’t have pet rocks. And if your new friends start adopting pet rocks themselves, ask yourself why all your friends are prone to adopting inanimate objects. Maybe the problem is you.