Last week I posted a question to get your thoughts on this statement I have recently heard from different friends at different times.
“I’m too busy for the friends I have currently have, I have no interest in making new friends.”
I had a pretty full weekend, mixed with work and friends and I brought this question to each of the events to broaden the discussion.
Overall, the reaction was in disagreement to this statement.
Mindy wrote ” WOW – I don’t think that one can ever have too many friends.”
And at my wine club party on Saturday night (after a couple of glasses of wine mind you), three friends had the same, immediate reaction ” OH NO! I don’t agree with that.”
Now, let’s not be too hasty and take a look at why these friends of mine said what they said.
- It is true, we are all very busy and there are probably many aspects of our lives where we’d like to do more of something and just can’t seem to fit it in. Adding even more to that mix seems like new friends, new obligations, new appointments seems daunting.
- Old friends (by old, I mean long-time) are like old jeans or broken in shoes. They fit. They don’t take effort, they are easy.
“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
- New friends take effort. You have to tell your story all over again, you need to tread lightly until you and they are comfortable letting your entire guard down. You need to “on” and pay attention to things they say and do, so you’ll look like a good friend the next time you are together by remembering stuff.
But all in all, I agree with one comment that I received , “I’d never make a conscious choice that I don’t want anymore friends”
While I feel exactly the same things I listed above; overwhelmed, tired, too busy, over scheduled, coming and going and yes I still very much have the sense of wanting to do even more with the friends I have….I could never in my right might conscientiously close the door and not let anyone new in.
Here are more thoughts:
- Friendships have an ebb and flow. Sometimes we see and spend more times with our friends than other times. Personal commitments, family schedules, change in interests all contribute to why we might see friends more or less at any given times in our relationships.
- There are levels of friendships. My wine club that I mentioned above, we meet every other month to get together and explore new wines. I really like everyone in the group, but I am realistic to admit that this is probably the limit for everyone to commit and we’re just not going to get together other than our scheduled times. It is the same with my BFF from high school whom I only see when I’m home visiting my parents. In high school, we were inseparable. Today, I live three thousand miles away and we lead very different lives, we have very different interests. Would I like to chat with her once a week and stay in touch? Absolutely! But I’m realistic to acknowledge that this can’t happen. So I’m happy to accept what we can give each other when the time works for us to be together.
- It is scary for me to think of what I might miss in shutting potential new friends out just because I feel I don’t have time. I believe we can grow and learn from every experience and every person. Sometimes people come into our lives just one time and other times, that one time chance meeting can change your life. I’d hate to miss out on either.
“Yes’m, old friends is always best, ‘less you can catch a new one that’s fit to make an old one out of.” ~Sarah Orne Jewett
So – coming from a time-management standpoint, the “statement” begs the question. Why aren’t you spending enough time with your friends if you want to spend more with them? What is preventing you?
I’d suggest the following to help fix the situation:
- Schedule time to see you friends. One of my pet peeves is when a friend says to me “we should get together.” and then leaves it at that. While that is a nice sentiment, it falls flat and turns into just words. Do you really mean it when you say that? If so, make it happen! If you truly want to “get together” schedule a time. Meet for coffee, a walk, over dinner or even a phone call. I have a friend who lives in Florida (I’m in Washington State), we will schedule times to chat on the phone. With kids, schedules and the time difference, this is the only way we ever hear each other voices.
- Get creative about getting together. Who says we always have to meet for dinner? How about inviting a friend to watch your daughter’s dance practice or you go to watch your friend’s son’s soccer game? Pick an activity you enjoy and invite a friend to join you. Last week, my friend and I went blackberry picking. We could have gone down the road, instead we went to a remote location that took almost an hour’s drive so we’d have more time to catch up and visit during the drive and the actual picking of the berries.
- Set realistic expectations. Maybe your kids are young and your job is demanding and your tired. Maybe your two schedules just don’t jive and you just can’t seem to make it work. Don’t beat yourself up about it, a phone call or a quick visit over coffee is better than none at all.
I’d be remiss to skip the part of saying that if this is really upsetting you and you really want to make changes…please call me. I’d love to help you find ways to spend more times with your current friends and at the same time get to a point where you are comfortable about making new ones.
I’d love to continue this conversation. What are your thoughts?
Happy Day to you!