My friend has become a jogging and exercise nut, which is good for her (I guess), but she used to be my go-to buddy for a chat over a good bottle of rosé (or two). Now she is always suggesting that we meet “for a spin class and a smoothie” or “go for a walk”. I want my old drinking partner back!! Is there anything that I can do?
Huh. I’ll admit, I am starving for more details here, but based on your description, it sounds like your former booze buddy has gone through some sort of life change. I mean, if you could just wake up one morning and become a habitual exerciser, I wouldn’t be carrying around ten extra pounds of of chip belly, but I digress…
Did your friend have any particular experience that could be behind her healthy new habits? It doesn’t have to be something super dramatic: maybe the health issues of a friend or a family member (or even her own health issues) have caused her to change her ways. Or maybe she watched some crazy documentary on how sitting is the new smoking. Or how exercise is the secret to happiness. Or how sobriety is the new sloshed.
You don’t say that she “quit drinking” as in she became officially sober. But if that is the case, I’m pretty sure you have to be supportive. Not that you have to join her at Spinga class or whatever, but when someone decides to give up the bottle, they’ve generally done so for good reason. No decent human being ever said to another human being, “this is why you need to jump off the wagon…”
Anyway, like I said, I don’t know the particulars, so I’m airing on the side of sensitivity. On the other side, I totally see where you’re coming from. When my two closest gal pals got pregnant at the same time (the nerv!), my social life (read: drinking wine with my besties) went down the toilet. Mind you, I wasn’t annoyed with them, since carrying a baby = totally a good excuse for not drinking. Also neither of them ever tried to turn our hangouts into calorie burning contests. Seriously, if I asked a friend to go for a glass of wine and she suggested an exercise class instead, I think I would tell her to stick her gym bag where the sun don’t shine. Not because I don’t believe in exercise buddies. It’s just that when somebody asks you to grab them a bag of chips at the store, you don’t come back with a bag of mini carrots because that would be rude!!!
On the other hand, maybe it’s a little rude that you are more worried about your wine intake than what’s going on with your bud…
You ask if there’s anything you can do about this, and luckily the answer is, yes! You can talk to your friend.
I know it would probably be easier to engage in passive aggressive relations where you invite her to join you for happy hour and she counters with an invite to boxing bikini boot camp (#barf). But this back and forth probably won’t get to the root of what’s going on, and will only build tension between you.
Instead, why take her up on her offer to go for a walk, which is a pretty neutral activity given the circumstances. Ask her about what’s going on. It’s true, personal conversations can be a lot more awkward without an assist from Mister Spritzer, but once you get into it (whatever it happens to be), you’ll be happy you did. Depending on what you find out, you can maybe express your desire for the return of boozy brunch or what have you. Then again, it’s possible your friend has decided to make a change, in which case, the friendship will have to change too.
I’m not saying that doesn’t suck. You are totally justified in missing your wine nights, and feeling nostalgic for the good old days. But if you don’t want to end up crying into your solo cocktail, you’ll figure out how to keep this friendship going. Either that, or you’ll realize that in the sober light of day, your dear friend is a bit of a dud. Sometimes friendships are based more on circumstances than long-lasting bonds, in which case you can toast to the good times move on.