One of the topics to write about that’s been swirling around my head this week is friendship.
Just this past Friday, I called some of you my ‘blog friends’. Which is true. Friends that I do feel a level of guilt I have let my commitment to communicating with lapse. But it’s not just you that I’ve left out in the cold. I feel I’ve become more and more of a passive friend of late.
A passive friend keeps reading your blog posts, Facebook posts and photos. They comment or like. But they give less and less of themselves. Often, I’ve found it perplexing to be in a conversation where someone says ‘I know’ to much of my news, as they are such a great social media stalkers, and I’ve felt unbalanced in the conversation knowing they share precious little of their life. I have to take the time to think of their interests, their family, the latest things they’d told me about their work, or their health or life.
I know my job has taken more and more of me in the past two years – now it’s my new normal to work from about 7am to at least 5pm and think of that as OK. The effects of this are more widespread than friends though. It means I crowd out time where I could exercise. It means the bedtime is firmer than ever, knowing the long work days take enough out of me to not want to start behind the eight ball, yawning.
I rely on others to plan events, to have milestones like birthdays, house warmings and engagement parties, so that I can formally etch out some time in my calendar for them. It seems very reactive. At some stage, the laws of nature mean I should and must reciprocate.
This week, I’ve worked on being a better friend. I volunteered to help a friend from church paint on our shared day off. I took my day off to plan two gifts (one for a party that had passed) that suited the recipients and me. I made advance plans to have coffee with a friend who lives mere streets away (!!) and loved the time we spent catching up. I squeezed in parties that clashed on the one afternoon, by some act of genius time robbery.
I do wish at this point in the post I had a plan on how I was going to be a better friend. But I just don’t! I could list all the should’s: I should plan to see friends one on one, the way that works best for me. I shouldn’t let the state of my home take priority over people! I should make time for things I enjoy and include those I enjoy spending my time with.
Food for thought.
How do you keep your friendships healthy and happy?