We all remember the sleepovers enjoyed in our schooldays. The hyperactive excitement, the packing of pyjamas, sweets and teddies to play with together. The things you pack might be a little different and your parents won’t be hounding you to but the principle is the same – the thrill of time spent with our bestest, into the night and the next morning, doesn’t wear off with age.
Now that intercounty travel is well underway, we are starting to zip back and forth across Ireland again, making time to see those friends from whom we have been parted by the pesky pandemic. Now that we feel more comfortable with the whole Covid situation, it feels good to spend a stretch of time with a friend. The sleepover is the perfect solution!
Having a friend to stay – at your own home, or your holiday house – is a special kind of thing. Unlike when we were tots or teens, these arrangements are never made on the hoof. We do think very carefully about who we spend our time with. And what she does before, during and after an overnight trip, are all the signs that she’s a real good friend.
1. She accepts the invite with glee and certainty
There are no lovelier words to hear than ‘that’s going straight in the diary!” It’s the organisational equivalent of, “you have my full attention” – accepting your invite so sincerely reminds you that they respect your time and plan. You know that she is as excited as you are.
2. She packs with care
Don’t worry – she brought bits. If you’re both heading down to your house in the country, and she’s joining as a guest, she still did a bit of shop for it. She might have brought an extra bottle of two (of expensive bubbles, or bath oil) spare beach towels or wetsuits, and a cold bag full of delicious antipasti and chocs-to-double-as-dessert which will become the first evening’s supper.
3. She shares the must-do’s
Your bestest filled up her tank before arriving, and she calls a taxi if you two are heading out. She keeps things de-cluttered and takes care not to create extra mess – frankly, if there are more in attendance than just the two of you, there’s more than enough as is! She anticipates what’s needed next – be it a cup of tea, or a run out to grab briquettes – and makes no thing of it.
4. She’s great with other guests if there are any – even if she doesn’t know them
She’s chatty with the others you have to stay, even if they’re a snooze or rude. A wonderful question-asker, even after 48 hours when most topics might have been exhausted, she knows how (and when) to strike up a polite chat that doesn’t exclude anyone.
5. She’s imaginative in her suggestions
Patchy wifi has nixed plans for a Netflix afternoon. “How about a picnic?” The rain just will not hold off. “Why don’t we bake something, I have recipes saved?” The kids are bored with the broad variety of toys they took with them. “Have you ever played Liar? Don’t worry, I’ll show you how.”
From French-braiding their hair, to drawing doodles, she’s terrific at inventing the next thing to turn the group’s attention to. Just taking the nippers into the garden when you have enough on your plate in the house, is a godsend in itself.
6. She’s on hand in the kitchen
Girlfriends make the greatest sous chefs. There is an art to this – a balance between letting you do your thing without being lazy, and helping out, effectively cutting your work in half, without taking over. And always being ready with the corkscrew …
So have her to stay, you already know who she is!
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