perks of doing errands with friends

Inspired by The Errand Friend by Anne Helen Petersen

  1. New experiences of the world. Errands are mostly more unique than normal friend-plans, in part due to an inherent unpredictability, and therefore expose one to a bigger range of situations. I go to bars often and they mostly are similar, but I wouldn’t have gone to a storage unit (liminal; reminded me of the film Primer) or a plant store, or rolled a desk chair around (barrio de) Salamanca, if not for friend-errands.
  2. New knowledge on your friend. How does your friend grocery-shop? How many shoes do they own? Conversation-based acquaintanceship is indirect, mediated by choice of topics and of what to reveal, limited by the information content of words. Seeing your friend interact with the world, or, even better, seeing their personal space or belongings, provides knowledge about them in a much rawer, truer, deeper way.
  3. A lower-pressure setting for interactions. A conversation-based hangout revolves around the fact of the relationship itself. Maybe you’re having beers watching the sunset at a park, but still, the focus of attention, and conversation, will be on one another. Errands can make for a more pleasant experience by allowing the parties to just be there, without pressure, reducing the need to be present for the other person.
  4. The Ben Franklin effect. You will like your friends more if you have done things for them, and liking your friends is good.
    (Also: you will like yourself more: you will have performed a positive, tangible action for someone you like.)

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