The power of sleep-overs is something we don't think much about as adults, or do all that frequently. But we should. There are still few experiences that can accelerate our intimacy and deepen our hearts as having un-rushed time together that includes talking until ready for bed and waking up in the same place together.
Traveling to New York City-- a trip I seem to make at least twice a year-- has become so much more fun since one of my girlfriends from San Francisco moved there a couple of years back. I see her far less frequently now that we're not getting together once a month for dinner on the west coast, but the time we spend together living in the same place for a few days in NYC is bonding us in ways that few of my friendships get to experience.
When I was back there two weeks ago I couldn't help but observe just how much intimacy these sleep-overs have added to our relationship: making coffee together in our pajamas in the mornings, debriefing our days with each other in the evening, making plans for dinner with her hubby and her cousin on Saturday night, being at home with her when her new dining room table arrived, and getting a feel for their rhythm and schedule.
A few days together did for our relationship what would have taken years of dinners and phone calls to get to. There's something so magical about staying up late talking, spending time in someone else's life and home, and having a few days together to get past all the updates and still have time to just talk about other things.
Planning Friendship Get-Aways
I experience this same magic every spring during my annual girlfriend weekend with four of my friends who are committed to us meeting up somewhere every year.
Although in this case we're not typically staying in each others homes, which means we miss out on seeing each other in normal day-to-day life a bit more, the upside is that we're all stepping out of our lives and making the weekend together entirely about talking and connecting which deepens our relationships in ways that a hundred phone calls couldn't compete with. It's a bit more like a slumber party in all the best ways. (And since all these women are mothers of young children, it's even more amazing to me that they all commit to step away for a weekend every single year!)
We don't necessarily do each others hair like we might do if we were teenagers and we don't make movies and boys the focus of our time together anymore, but we still laugh, get silly, tell secrets, and fill each other up with love.
Local Slumber Parties
For many, I find that slumber parties and sleep-overs seem to happen primarily with only one circle of friendships: the confirmed circle, the friends we used to be close to but no longer live nearby. Like my two previous examples it's either because she lives where I'm visiting or because we've all planned to meet up somewhere together, but these aren't friends who live in San Francisco.
But one thing I've really been enjoying lately is thinking more about sleep-overs with people who live nearby.
When we were kids it was exactly those people-- our closest friends, even if they just lived next door to us-- that we'd beg to have stay the night with us. It was rarely because they needed to spend the night, but more because we wanted extra time with each other.
One of the coolest nights happened earlier this year when one of my husbands best friends invited us to come spend the night at their home only 30 minutes away.
We typically just drive home after dinner, but they begged us to bring our pajamas and spend the night, and even though we had to leave in the morning right after breakfast, I assure you that the time together was several times more bonding than had we left the night before.
I also experience this magic every time my step-daughter asks us if she can spend the night with us when her husband occasionally leaves town. We're lucky that they're local and we get to see them regularly, but it's an extra treat when she comes and stays the night with us-- the slower conversations, the watching of TV together, the embracing of her into our daily routine is fun in a way that just having them over for dinner cannot replicate.
Whether it's spending the night in normal life or leaving normal life to spend the night with each other-- they are both bonding in ways that can't easily be duplicated by regular get-togethers. All the 2-4 hour scheduled dinners in the world can't replicate the experience of unrushed time and casual lounging around that sleep-overs afford.
(A few adult slumber party resources for you from other bloggers if you're up for planning a really intentional one: 5 reasons to host a slumber party, ideas for hosting, and fun ideas on pinterest)
I challenge you to think of someone in your life who you might consider initiating a sleep-over!
- Maybe it's someone who lives far away and you just want to call and say "Hey, either I should come to you or you should come to me-- but let's get a weekend on the calendar!"
- Or maybe, it's two to three local friends who have all been getting to know each other better and you're ready to help deepen the bond by saying, "Hey maybe we should all try to find a weekend where we can have a sleepover together, like when we were kids!"
- Or maybe, it's just skipping the hotel on one of your trips to see if a friend is up for hosting you, or calling a friend you know who travels near you and saying, "Hey next time you're in town, you are so welcome to my place! I know it's not as comfy as a hotel, but it might be more fun!"
We talked about vulnerability in a recent blog and this is an example of the "practicing new ways of spending time together" option. It will feel a little awkward and it will require a little initiation... but trust me, when it comes to making you feel closer to someone, there are few experiences that can deepen your friendship than the gift of a night under the same roof!
LEAVE COMMENTS: Do you have friends spend the night? Share with us your ideas, how it helps your friendships, etc.! Never done a slumber party? What's holding you back? Did this inspire you? Will you accept my invitation/challenge? :)
p.s. Come to an already planned slumber party! :) We are guaranteeing spots to everyone who registers by Nov. 1 for the New Years Retreat that I'm hosting in Northern California this January 2-4, 2015. This weekend away might be a perfect excuse to call a friend and see if she wants to join you for a slumber party! You can read all about the retreat by requesting the invitation here. We already have women in their 20's and 60's signed up to be there-- so all ages are welcome! It's going to be a super special weekend of celebrating/honoring the past year while preparing for the upcoming year with excitement and anticipation!
Comfy lodging, healthy and nourishing food, walks in beautiful nature, jacuzzi under the stars, retreat activities led by me, new friends, tons of laughter, and lots of time to hear your own heart whisper-- if that's your cup of tea, I so hope you do whatever you can to be with us!
NOTE: The retreat was initially designed for two friends to come together, but due to several requests, we're also opening it up for women to come alone and we'll match you up with other women who are coming alone so that you can all meet, share, and have someone witness your journey when appropriate! So come as a pair of friends, or come and meet new friends-- but if you value reflection, listening to your own heart, connecting with other women, and rejuvenating your spirit-- then know that you are welcome at our slumber party! RSVP by Nov. 1!