Friendships enrich our lives on many levels. A good friend can see your strengths and weaknesses, yet still love you. They forgive your shortcomings yet are your strongest allies when it comes to the game of life.
Much goes into building such a relationship. And that’s where technology has failed us.
You can’t hug an iPhone
No matter how much we’re told we’re “connected” with each other through technology, nothing… and I mean NOTHING, can beat seeing your friend in person and staring into their eyes as you share a conversation—and laugh and cry together throughout it all.
Nothing beats having an arm go around your shoulder and getting that hug that says, “You’re not alone in this. I’m right here with you every step of the way.”
This doesn’t come from “liking” a Facebook update. It’s the result of having some authentic, heart-to-heart talks while sharing space with another human being.
It both saddens me and concerns me when people think they have so many “friends.” They are online acquaintances, at most. If that person ever needed to:
- Borrow money
- Crash at someone’s home
- Talk to someone at 1 AM
- Have someone drive them to the hospital
- Have some help moving
Who would they call? A Facebook friend who lives in another state? Or a friend who is in their own hometown, who has attended their kid’s baptism and birthday parties?
The relationships that orbit around your world
You change as you age. It’s the way of life. You enter into the college years full of hope and dreams, meet others who match your desire to change the world, and latch onto them. You create silly and serious moments that make getting that college degree bearable.
And after you graduate, you keep in touch with some but others turn into another direction and you lose contact with them altogether. It happens.
This pattern repeats itself throughout life as you live in certain locations and then move, work for an employer and then change jobs, or even worship at a particular spot and then for various reasons stop and start attending worship services somewhere else.
It takes a lot to sustain a relationship throughout major life transitions. That’s why when you find a friend who can hang with you through all your challenges, it’s worthwhile to cultivate and nurture that friendship. You never know what will happen next month or next year.
Unplugging yourself from your computer and mobile devices shouldn’t just happen for an annual camping trip, but regularly—and on an on-going basis. It’s important to schedule time to connect with your friends often. The older you get, the more challenging this becomes.
Keeping up with family obligations, for instance, can collide with your pursuit to build your own business. Or sliding into mid-life when suddenly you’re placed into a caretaker role for a family member can curtail your availability to get together in person with your friends.
It’s why you want to make time to meet and make it a priority. If you don’t make it a priority, others will expect to have as much of your time as you allow them. So often, friendships die because one or both friends allowed everything and everyone else to take precedence over getting together.
It’s also tempting to think that others can call you if they really want to get together. Don’t allow that to be the deciding factor for your friendships.
For instance, many of my friends are mothers. They are neck-deep in raising their children and it takes enough energy for them to figure out what to fix for dinner, let alone call me and set up lunch for the following week.
If a person is a friend, take the bull by the horns and reach out to them. I recently did this with a friend I hadn’t seen in months. I didn’t realize how long it had been until I looked at my calendar and noticed it was last November when we met. Too long!
I was glad I took the initiative to reach out and schedule a meal together. It especially made me feel good when my friend told me she was glad I connected and we had to make sure we got together again a lot sooner than every six months.
I don’t think this idea is a revelation but I do hope to encourage you to reach out to your friends if it has been awhile since you’ve gotten together.
Emails are fine to keep in touch, but the real memories are made when we get together with someone we love to remind ourselves how important our friendship really is.
Because if we don’t take the time to do that, is it truly that important? Cherish your friendships. Life is crazy enough trying to keep up with everything else going on around us.
Our friendships make us sane.