I research and talk about friendship.
I even host a podcast show called Friending (Shut up! Season 3 is coming out 02/13/18...but more on that later). I stalk other friendship experts like Shasta Nelson and Brené Brown (isn't she an expert on everything?)
I can kinda suck as a friend ... (all my friends are tilting their heads and shrugging their shoulders about now) ...and this past year, my friendship game was weak.
Normally, I spend the first couple days of January crafting lists of how I am going to become a better person to benefit...me ( i.e. .lose weight, be less busy, follow my dreams, blah, blah, blah) but this year I am not doing that.
This year, I decided to jot down a few ways I am going to be a better friend in 2018.
Let's be honest, even if we sustain our "New Year's Resolutions" and become better versions of ourselves... if we aren't better to the people we love... what does it really matter? I can lose all the weight and still be an absentee friend. All that makes me is a more skinny, lonely person.
So, here's the plan:
#1 This year, I am putting "face to face/in the flesh" contact with my friends on my calendar.
The problem with social media, texting, and smart phones... is that I can easily stay updated with my friends' lives without ever having to see them in person. This is helpful with my long-distance friendships, but folks, I have a close friend who live 20 minutes away from me that I have not seen in person in months. Why? Because we talk everyday on Voxer. All the research and science tell us that that there is no substitution for face to face/in the flesh contact with friends. Loneliness cannot be overcome virtually or remotely. We need to physically be present with our people to be reminded that we do not do this life alone.
My life can get busy with two kids (one with special needs) and the only way I am going to make sure I see my friends in person is if I am make it a non-negotionable on my calendar.
#2 This year, I am organizing more fun things for me to do with my friends.
Look, I enjoy a good "coffee + chat with my bestie" like the next person, but I am starting to realize that there is possibly more to life than coffee (I just heard you audibly gasp).
As I think back on my most favorite memories with my friends... it surprised me how many of my favorites were when my friend(s) and I did a specific activity together. Even taking a simple walk with a friend stood out in my mind as one of the meaningful moments we have shared in our friendship. We must have sipped on a thousand cups of coffee together... but it was that single walk that was highlighted in my brain as a favorite memory.
This year, I want to be intentional about doing fun things with my friends (everything from hosting another "Oscar's Party" to going rollerskating at the local rink). It's shocking that how often i help my kids arrange fun play dates with their friends...but I never think to do the same for myself. 2018 is going to be the year of friend playdates for me!
#3 Stop trying to be besties with everyone and invest in the friendships I have already cultivated.
As an extrovert, one of the friendship crimes I often commit is that I spread myself too thin with people. I just want to get to know everyone and make everyone my friend! After 35 years, I have finally come to accept that this is not reality. In fact, this is not even healthy. The more friends I have, the less quality time I have to give to people. The less quality time I have to give to people, the less quality friendships I sustain.
There is a big difference between befriending everyone and being friendly to everyone. The latter is not optional. I must be kind to everyone but I don't have to make it my sole mission to be everyone's friend. What I do need to do, is take a sober look at the people in my life who I want to cultivate a stronger friendship with... and become more intentional in investing in them.
What is going to make 2018 a great year?