Best Friendship Tip Ever5:45 PM
I'm a big kid with homework, a job, meal-making, grocery shopping, and a relentless need for a nap. It gets hard keeping in touch with my best friends, not to mention the less-close friends who want to keep in touch with me or the new friends I want to make. Time seems to fly now that I'm almost a grownup. That and energy. Right out the door. Hello, beloved couch.
Being an anti-social extrovert (meaning I share emotions like an extrovert and avoid social situations like an introvert), I hate, hate, hate navigating the mess of time, energy, and friendships. It takes everything in me to even schedule a catch-up phone call, much less an entire get-together. By the time I've finished texting get-together plans, I want to curl up in bed and hate on the world. And if I cannot come up with an excuse in time to get out of prearranged plans (I always try to get out of prearranged plans even with people I like), I'll get together with my friend or take that phone call and then secretly pine away for an isolated corner with pillows and books the entire time.
This is my consistent hanging out pattern. I resigned myself to a friendless existence a long time ago.
Still, I love friends. I love people. I enjoy interesting or stupid conversations that end up in either soul bonding or uncontrollable giggling. I go crazy without seeing people for more than a few hours. I want to keep up with all my friends back home, all my school friends around the U.S., my family, and even the occasional online friend. And I also want to read, write, and ignore social obligations. Oh, and sleep.
How am I supposed to be an adult, a writer, and a friend in a limited sixteen-hour day and seven-day week?
Here I unleash the best friendship tip ever. Are you ready for this?
I mean this both literally and vaguely metaphorically. If you want to grow close to someone, room with her. Random questions, cooking dinner, afternoon reading, and life's ups and downs automatically bond two different people together. I work, live, and go to school with my best friend here. We started out as okay friends, got stuck together as roommates (to her delight), and then just lived together for the past two years.
In the big world of reality, you spend most of your time working, studying, or lounging around the house. My closest friends are the ones I worked, studied, or lived with.
Live together takes on a slightly different meaning when you work with not-so-awesome coworkers or aren't a college kid spending the summer with her roommate. It basically means invite friends to do "life stuff" instead of scheduling weekly coffee dates. (Who has money and time for coffee dates?!)
It's more convenient, yes, but it's also more natural to develop close friendships within your life instead of constantly keeping up relationships in this awkward social bubble that only tangentially intersects with the everyday world.
I met up with three friends and my sisters for a whirlwind weekend of wedding shopping. We got in some girl chat time, but we spent most of the 6+ hours in the mall eyeing the $5 jewelry sale and nixing potential bridesmaid dresses. Super shallow and super chill on the outside, but so good. We got things done, and we did it together.
Cooking meals, getting together to read, washing cars, and sewing dance costumes are all things I've recently done to keep in contact with busy friends.
You know, this best friendship tip ever also gives me freedom to regulate my relationships. I focus on investing more time and energy in friends depending on their geographical location to me (with the exception of the boyfriend and my family, who always take precedence just because I adore them all). Out-of-state friends rarely hear from me, especially during the school year. It's not that I dislike people or don't want to keep up the friendship --- it's just that true friendship involves sharing life. If we can't share life together, we hit the pause button on our relationship until we pick it up once I come home.
Even at school, where we all live within five miles of each other, I prioritize the friends I live with over friends I only bump into occasionally. Voila! No dealing with pressure to become best friends with everybody in my life. No conflict between fulfilling responsibilities and maintaining relationships. No need to decide between friendship and reading that new library book -- just invite friends into the living room to read with you!
Photo creds by Elena Marie's Photography.
What are your favorite ways to "do life" with your friends?