Aspen FriendshipsMaking and keeping friendships in a post-college scene
Platts: Aspen Friendships
Making friends is not something you’re taught growing up. It just sort of happens. We spend our childhood being forced to be with people our own age. From preschool to college, making friends feels mostly seamless because people are just always around. But take away the lockers, dorm rooms and daily classes and things get a bit harder. Making friends doesn’t come as naturally in the “real world”. And, why it may be easier to ask a member of the opposite sex out for a drink, how does one just go up to someone they think would make a good friend and, essentially, ask them to go on a platonic date?
That’s how I felt when I moved to Aspen roughly four years ago. I started working for a small marketing company, which, while it was a great opportunity, made it a bit harder to meet people my own age. Everywhere I went, it seemed like millennials and the like were already in established friendships. It was the beginning of the winter season and everyone seemed to have large amounts of social engagements… except me. I was on an entirely new social terrain and wasn’t quite sure what to do about it.
My job at the marketing firm taught me a lot. One thing I learned to do was establish professional relationships with the local press, in hopes that they would give our clients good exposure in their publications. One of our big clients at the time was a new hotel in Snowmass Village. A newspaper dedicated to the happenings and news of that town is the weekly Snowmass Sun operated by The Aspen Times. The editor of the Snowmass Sun was Jill Beathard. Immediately after meeting her, I was platonically smitten.
Jill was (and still is) a fun, smart, down-to-earth girl from Texas. When we met she had already been in the Roaring Fork Valley a year. She enjoyed the outdoors, appreciated a good cocktail and was always up for a new experience — all in all, she was my kind of woman.
Perhaps similarly to romantic attraction, often times, when you meet someone you want to be friends with, you just know immediately. That was the case for me with Jill. I just wasn’t sure how to convince her that she too, wanted to be my friend. I started by asking her out for drinks to discuss how I could get into freelancing for publications in town. We met at Justice Snow’s, a new restaurant that would soon become our habitual watering hole. We talked for a bit about freelancing and how I could get into it. However, once the cocktails started emptying down our throats, we got into other conversations about fun things to do in Aspen, boys, bucket list goals and more. By the end of the night, we were taking shots and cavorting all over the dance floor at the Belly Up.
The next morning we texted one another, practically in tears over the hangovers that had materialized due to the evening before. From there on out, we were in agreement, we had both found a new friend.
Over the last pew years, Jill and I have been through a lot, together and separately. From career successes to family losses, from early mornings out at the bars to late evenings in binging on a reality TV show or HBO original series, we’ve had many adventures and even a few misadventures. But one thing is for sure: it’s been a hell of a ride.
I’m sad to say that Jill moved away from Aspen this week. She’ll be attending Denver University for law school this fall. Her last weekend in town felt similar to our first night out together. It was indulgent, to say the least. I attached myself to her hip, and we painted the town red. I’m so sad to see her go but couldn’t be happier that she’s making big moves. And, even if she will no longer be in the Roaring Fork Valley, I know we still have many more adventures headed our way.
Making friends in Aspen did not come seamlessly for me. It took a lot to get used to the social scene and to start reaching out to people I wanted to know better. But, once I started putting myself out there, I found success in the best ways possible.
So, for those newcomers to town, the people who aren’t quite sure where to go or who to meet, just start putting yourself out there and see what happens.
That’s what I did three years ago and I was lucky enough to get a lifetime friend out of it.
Barbara Platts is running out of friends in this valley. If you’re in the same boat, shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe you can connect.
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