Thinking about Friendship

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships lately. Candy Changs words resonate with me, in her amazing ‘Before I Die’ TED Talk (which if you haven’t watched, I highly recommend): “Two of the most valuable things we have is time and our relationships with each other.” As someone who struggles with feeling that I never have enough time to do what I need to do in a day, Candy Changs words hit me hard. Because sometimes (okay I admit, often), I think that I don’t have time for relationships with others. I struggle with time, with the feeling of not having enough time, and I often put my to-do list ahead of my friendships.

We were invited to my friends sons birthday party last weekend. These are friends that I have known for 20 years – unbelievable if I think about it, I have known them for half of my life. They are pretty much my oldest friends. In the 20 years, we have had times of intense closeness and times apart, and currently, they live far away and we don’t see them very often. But when we do see them, there is magic there, that feeling of joy when you are with someone who has known you for 20 years. We almost didn’t go to the birthday party, because it was far and we had just schlepped to IKEA and back dealing with an annoying furniture mishap. There were excuses, lots of excuses. I was tired. I needed to grocery shop, get ready for the week, etc etc. I thought I didn’t have the time.

Thankfully, we decided to get in the car and go. And I am so thankful we made this decision. It was such a joy to see my friends again, to hug and reconnect. I am so happy that I was present for their experience of celebrating their son turning five. Its amazing that we met as young adults (practically children still!), and now here we are, watching our children running around in a playground.

For me, valuing my relationships means that I need to be present. In this world of increasing distractions, presence is not always so easy. But it is critically important. And for me, presence is practiced and friendships are deepened through good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation. I keep in touch with many friends through Facebook where we comment on each others photos and I get updates on everyones day-to-day experiences of living. Facebook is great for keeping in touch, and seeing snapshots of life. But, I cannot make the mistake of thinking that friendship is developed through Facebook. For me, friendships and relationships deepen by being together, sharing physical space, making eye-contact, listening and sharing, and understanding each other.

And friendship is worth making time for.