So there’s a rumor going around this week about a possible Boy Meets World reunion/sequel series being in development. This warms my heart and fills me with ’90s nostalgia, even if Sabrina, The Teenage Witch was my favorite among the shows in the TGIF lineup. I enjoyed BMW as much as the next person, and what’s always stuck with me about the show is how cohesive and supportive the core group of friends is. Once the series progressed past the awkward middle school years, on one hand you lost Minkus, which was a tragedy, but on the other hand, you got to watch the friendships between Cory, Shawn, and Topanga grow into relationships you sensed were going to last for awhile. As the characters got older, they stayed close to each other, but their group opened up to include the other people that became important in their lives. (BMW is one of the few shows I’ve watched that managed to introduce new characters later in the series and have me not hate them. I’m looking at you, Taylor Townsend.)
The friends on Boy Meets World became an internalized model of what I wanted my group of friends to look like. I wanted one of those close-knit groups that forms early on and expands and evolves with age, where everyone grows together and remains close. For better or worse, frequent moves between schools and between states meant I never really had the chance to be part of that sort of group, but it certainly didn’t keep me from trying. In every phase of my life, I’ve tried to fashion a group of friends, trying every tactic in the book from making nicknames to mailing lists to t-shirts. It turns out that like fetch or a Romney presidency, you can’t make a friend circle happen. Time and time again, I tried to make the people I was friends with into a cohesive group, but they never clicked together in a lasting way like I wanted them to. This is all well and good in high school and college where you see the majority of the people you know on a very regular basis, but having a fragmented friend group as an adult can get exhausting. The amount of effort to nail down plans with even one person, let alone a group of people that felt lukewarm about each other, was starting to feel like more trouble than it was worth. (Let me just say that none of this is to malign any of my friends. They’re all amazing, incredible people who I feel blessed to have in my life. I’ve just always (misguidedly) wanted them to feel more that way about each other.)
I thought for the longest time that maybe I was alone in this, that maybe everyone else had an awesome group of childhood friends that they constantly hung out with while I was sitting on my couch with my cat watching reruns. And then a friend said something that made me realize maybe it wasn’t me, it was where I was living: ”In LA, I feel like no one has a group of friends, you just make plans with one person at a time. Back home, I just send one e-mail about plans on a Friday night, and everyone rolls out.” That sounds nice, I thought, but at the time, I just took her words as a validation of my current lifestyle, not an indication that things could get better.
They say you’ll meet someone when you stop looking. This statement is usually applied to people looking for significant others, but for me, it’s also true of this mythical friend group I’ve been looking for. That same friend who so perfectly articulated my issues with maintaining friendships in LA ended up introducing me to a friend of hers from home who got me a new job on the other side of the country, and that’s when the really amazing thing happened – her group of friends adopted me. Suddenly, with what felt like no effort at all, I was part of one of those cohesive friend groups I’d started thinking didn’t exist. I don’t want to get to awkwardly gushy in case any of them are reading this (hi, guys!), but it’s just been refreshing to finally meet a group of people it’s just easy to hang out with. Maybe it’s just me, but friendship in LA always felt more like a dating game, always having to play hard to get (“Oh, well I’m hanging out with so and so on this day, but I guess I could make time for you next weekend”), but in DC I’ve been fortunate enough to get to skip ahead to the relaxed, fun phase where you get to sit around and eat junk food in your pajamas together and you never really have to stress about whether or not you have plans for Friday night.
It might be inaccurate in its depictions of romance and roommates, but there are some relationships shown on TV that you can aspire to. Now, if I could just figure out how to make my other childhood aspiration of having magic powers happen, I’ll really be in business.