I have a new project.
Actually, since I’m writing this post now as opposed to about a month ago, it’s not as new as it was in September. This is technically Week Four of my newest resolution. It’s a new resolution because who says that resolutions are limited to January?? There’s enough going on in that month already!
So here’s my new project: I am getting together with one friend per week.
That doesn’t sound so dramatic at all, does it? I’m sure some would read that and scoff and say, “One friend a week? I see tons of my friends every day at school and work and when I drop my kids off at their activities! I have dinner dates all the time!”
That’s true of me as well but you know what? It’s not enough.
You can’t grow friendships by saying “Hi” in passing or call that 10 minutes of chit chat while you wait for your kids quality time. You can’t stand around at work and bitch about whatever the daily grumble is and call that relationship building. Too many times I think “friend” is a word that is spread so thin that we have to add addendums to the front of it to give it more meaning. “Close friend.” “Best friend.” “Family friend.” “Work friend.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not standing on a soapbox trying to say that any of that is a bad choice or wrong or misguided. I have friends that are closer than others, work friends, acquaintances, and everything in between. Sometimes friendships change and evolve and dissolve. That’s all ok. All I’m saying is that I need to step up my own game when it comes to keeping up with the people that matter and I’m doing it purposefully by spending time with one person a week. Just one person. Only one so that I don’t do what I normally do and make a giant list of people to call and then get summarily overwhelmed and pressured that the whole list implodes in uselessness because I’m too caught up in irrationality to get through it. So I’m taking most of the pressure off of myself and doing my best.
If you remember, I mentioned this is already Week Four. How is this whole thing working, you might ask? I’m excited to report that it is working very well indeed and that I’m finding it enriching and enlivening. It’s so nice to hear what is going on with my friends in real time, face to face, and not rely merely on Facebook status updates to give me all the nitty gritty. And I think that the friends I’ve spent time with have enjoyed the chance to chat and catch up together, too. None of them knew that this project was happening but I don’t think that matters. It’s not as though I have to think for days about who I’d like to spend time with, which was one of my fears about making this an Official Thing. All of this has evolved organically with no more effort than checking schedules, showing up, and then letting conversation flow where it will.
I’ve had coffee with two friends and had another friend and her children over at my place to play. As a total random bonus I also skyped with two other friends who live overseas who I’d never skyped with before. I then realized that my definition of “quality time” has to include Skype in the future. This week I’m spending time on my day off with my Mom, the first friend I ever had. It’s funny because I thought for a moment that I had worked so much this week that the whole week had gone by without me making time for someone and then it struck me that, silly girl, of course your Mom is your friend. She’s more my friend now than she ever was at any point before in my life. Jim and I are going to dinner with my Mom and Dad later that night but per my own rules, I have to give some of my own time apart from other social commitments to one person a week and this just happened to work perfectly.
Am I expecting every week to work out easily? No. So far, so good but life happens and I won’t be going to extremes in case something doesn’t happen to work in any upcoming week. I won’t push myself to go out when I’m sick. I can only do my best and my best is good enough (I spy a new mantra in that sentence). I will certainly keep updating about Project Feeding Friendships, Finding Joy here on my blog and I hope it will be fun to follow. Friends, I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you keep up with your relationships. Do you have to set goals or is it easy to find the time? Do tell.