I mentioned previously that I made Tim engage in a “reflection on the past year and intentions for the upcoming year.” The thing that he brought up — that I promptly adopted — was the desire to maintain closer relationships with the people in our lives. He kept describing it as “casual friendships,” which I kept hearing as “a lot of not-that-close friends.” But what he really meant was friendships that we don’t treat as precious events, instead getting to the level of friendship where you can make casual plans the day-of or be just as happy meeting up for a single drink versus a whole big night out. I love the sound of that — don’t you?
It’s my theory that everyone wants a FRIENDS-ship. Obviously, with TV being my #1 hobby/interest, I do mean the NBC hit comedy from 1994-2004. The show follows friends across three different apartments in NYC who could just show up unannounced constantly, make fun of each other, have fights and patch things up, and it somehow it all wasn’t weird. (See also: ‘Seinfeld’; ‘Clarissa Explains It All’; I’m pretty sure ‘The Big Bang Theory’ also has this?) I’ve never had an adult FRIENDS-ship. (I sort of had those uber-close, do-everything-together friendships in elementary/middle school but realistically that’s just not the same.)
In reality I’m too afraid to not constantly have my front door locked so I will never have that type of friendship. So here are some things I’m trying to do to foster greater friendships!
- Just send the text. If it’s been a while, don’t be afraid to send a quick “hey! been thinking about you” message. A lot of times, I get in my head like, “It’s been too long. I’ll need to do a proper full hours-long catch-up session and right now I can’t commit to that.” But that just keeps me from catching up even longer. Just send the message now!
- Organize a group event. If I want to start a friendship with someone and we have mutual friends, I’ll probably invite them all over for cocktails or a dinner party. That way, it’s a lower-stress environment because there are many people that we know well, and there are only one or two people we are getting to know. The biggest fear is usually that you don’t know what to talk about, and by having another party present, you can learn about them more indirectly without the pressure!
- Invite them to what you’re already doing. This one was a bit of an “aha” moment when I decided on my New Year’s Resolutions. Because I wanted to experience more, why can’t I two-birds-one-stone it by inviting a friend along? I want to visit a couple local wineries. When I do, I’ll invite someone I know who’d enjoy it. There’s a concert coming up I’m dying to attend, or a bar I want to visit, or a workout I want to try. Add a friend and get drinks after! It’s a perfect system.
I think a lot of people struggle with keeping up friendships. In fact, I saw recently that people form an average of 400 friendships in their life but only keep 33. TBH my first thought when I heard they keep 33 was “wow, that many?” I think it’s hard to maintain pretty much all friendships. And I’m an extrovert, so I can only imagine it’s even more difficult for an introvert. Make it easy on yourself, then, and remove the pressure. And don’t forget to lock your doors, even if your friend does live nearby. This world has as many Chandlers as it does Janices.