To be honest, I was ready to leave the bar.
It had been hours since we left the New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden, and the girl I was interested in with our group had already left. I’m not a big drinker to start with, so I figured it would probably be best to begin my hour-long commute right away.
Then I looked over and saw a bachelorette party, and decided to stay.
My friend was on his best wingman game, trying to get one of the bridesmaids to lick my chest if I could tie a cherry stem with my tongue (I did, but she still declined. It was more of a personal challenge, anyway), but all of them were already accounted for.
Rather than pack it in, I decided to stay and chat with the young ladies. By the end of the night, the friend who I had gone to the Rangers game with had left and it was just me and four girls who were perfect strangers to me just hours earlier.
Lily, the bride-to-be, extended an invite to her wedding, which I nonchalantly accepted. I asked one of her friends, Jill, if she was serious. “I don’t want to show up and it be like, ‘Oh my god, he actually came,’” I said, “but if she’s serious, I’ll totally go.”
Two weeks later I arrived at Lily’s intimate reception, which was littered with close family and friends… and now me, a guy she met two weeks ago. Seconds after walking through the door, Lily screamed and gave me a hug.
Everything about the situation was out of my comfort zone, but I was there, and I planned to embrace it.
The night was spectacular. Lily looked stunning, there were plenty of laughs, hours of dancing, and a debate over who would take home the two-foot tall centerpiece.
I’m a firm believer that some of the best memories you have and some of the best people you meet will come from unexpected circumstances. This wedding only helped prove that notion to be accurate.
The girls are incredible people, their boyfriends and fiancés are just as amazing, and Lily is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. We could all very well remain friends for the rest of our lives just because someone was crazy enough to start a conversation, someone was crazier to invite them to their wedding, and the first person was even crazier to actually show up to it.
I could’ve judged these ladies as a group of girls looking to get drunk on a night out, and written them off in the next moment. They could’ve judged me as some guy looking to get into one of their pants, and subsequently written me off as well.
It was a lesson in trust and perception for the both of us, and I doubt any of us knew it at the time.
It makes me think about other people in my life who I may have easily dismissed without attempting to know them on a deeper level, and maybe it does for these girls, too.
I believe that friendship is not about how long you know people, but the substance of the relationship you have with them. My best friend in the world lives 2,000 miles away and we’ve only been close since he moved away for a new job opportunity about two years ago, yet I’d trust him with my life.
I’ve confided in him with things I don’t tell anyone else, and I see a lot of whom I want to be when I look at him. This is a guy that was a former co-worker of mine, who often kept to himself and gave off a vibe that he was too good for the rest of us.
That’s how I judged him. I didn’t take the time to get to know him until worked on the same project together, and then he left the company months later.
If I were to get married tomorrow, he’d be my best man; and if I were to get married tomorrow, Lily and her friends would (hopefully) be in attendance.
This could easily be a, “Yo, I chatted up a bachelorette party at a bar, got invited to the wedding, then actually went to it!” story to tell friends in an attempt to boast, but I think it goes deeper than that.
We should have more conversations with perfect strangers, do more things out of our comfort zone, and try to find the good in every situation instead of casting a cloud over everything or trying to see the worst in everyone.
If we can’t do that, we’ll never grow as human beings.