It’s a funny time when we judge our personal status on how many Facebook “friends” we have, or how many people “follow” our tweets or how many events we go to. And it’s not a new thing – when I was a teenager I remember lining my walls with hundreds of photos of my “friends”. A pre-Facebook testament to prove how popular I was.
But as you get older I like to think that we replace quantity with quality. I’ve recently done a facebook cull. I figure if they don’t have a really special place in my heart or I haven’t spoken to them on the phone or in person for the last year – they’re not really my “friend” and I don’t want them knowing my business. The only people I want knowing my business are those who I have a meaningful relationship with.
So how do we go about creating meaningful relationships in our lives? Here are some starters:
Take time – in this day and age, the kindest thing you can give anyone is your undivided attention. Our society is designed for us to be running from one thing to another, constantly planning forward. You’ve got to catch this bus to get to that yoga class on time and then to the shops by this time because they’ll close…. Let it all go. Your friends are more important.
Be undivided – turn your damn phone off, put it in your bag, and don’t touch it until you’re out of sight of your friend. Unless you’re the leader of the free world or you have an unwell loved one then nothing really takes precendence over spending quality time with your friends. It’s only going to be 1-2 hours. Let. It. Go. No phone. No TV. No plans. Let that brunch turn into lunch turn into an impromptu shopping day. Nothing is more important than spending time with those you love.
Remember their dates – I’ve got a terrible memory. Terrible. I just forgot one of my best friend’s birthdays. Awful. So what do I do when I walk away from seeing my friends? I make notes in my phone/diary about the things they’ve told me. Like “Sam’s essay due tomorrow” or “Dave moving house next week” or “Rebecca’s birthday!!!!!!”. And you know what happens? I get a reminder pop up on the relevant day. And I call/text my friends. And they know that I love them and am thinking of them. Writing a reminders about what’s happening in your friends life isn’t cheating. It’s thoughtful. And for me, it’s honest. I forget shit.
Organise mates dates - be proactive. Organise dinner parties two months down the track. Or a once a month walking date. Or a quarterly clothing and book swap. Something. Just organise something to do with them. The more you see the people you love the more you’ll make memories with the people you love and the stronger your connection will be.
Trust me, it doesn’t take much to re-forge those meaningful relationships. And once you do, they’ll be the brightest shining part of your life.
Tiny change for the day: organise an interruption free mates date.