Maintaining Friendships

Ah, friendships. They have never been a breeze. Some friends are in your life for a long time and others are just taking part-time or temporary roles. At least with the part-time or temporary mates they sort of fizzle out. But, with the long-term friendships – you’ll do anything you can to try and cling onto your bond.

So, why are friendships so hard to maintain these days?

TECHNOLOGY

I think that technology has a lot to answer for when it comes to the topic of maintaining friendships. We are constantly connected with everyone. I am connected with people that I haven’t spoken to in years. I get updates of their whereabouts, what cool things they are doing and who they are doing the cool things with. So, I know a bit about the people I haven’t spoken to in what seems like one hundred lightyears. When it comes to my besties and my friends, a similar thing starts to occur. I begin storing (unconsciously) bits of information of what they have been up to based on their social media feeds. Plus, the worst part is, to some extend, I feel like I am connected with them. Their social feeds update me the most and on a regular basis. But here is where the issue lies…

 

We are not connected emotionally. 

Of course, some connection is better than nothing. Their latest Instagram will let me know that they’re alive and kicking. But, I don’t actually know what is going on in their life. Not really. As soon as we all left school and went our own ways, a lot changed. Lots of my friends headed down the University route. Not that I really had much experience of it myself but it’s a consuming world. You are trying to make new connections, attend the best socials and pass your exams. It’s a lot to ask from a human being. So, with that taken into consideration – it was no wonder that our communication was on temporary mute. But, it still made me sad.

 

 

 

I am one of those people that replies to a text within seconds. If I don’t reply within five minutes, I am very very busy. In fact, my closest friends usually send me a follow up text to make sure I am alive if I don’t respond immediately. It’s rare if I don’t reply almost instantly. I always have my phone nearby. I am not constantly on my phone but it’s always on loud and at an arms length. A downside to being this available via my iPhone is that I find it difficult when people don’t give me the same sort of replies. I get it, everyone is  super busy these days but why the 10 hour delay in your response? Please don’t forget about me…

We all take it for granted that someone is just a text or a phone call away. In my opinion, it’s lazy communication. But, we’d all rather that than nothing. So, we are constantly texting. I’m guilty of texting my boyfriend even when he’s in our flat with me. It’s just a habit. But part of what makes a friendship the best it can be is face-to-face communication. Long-lasting relationships need bonding time. They need a good gossip. I crave real human interaction!! And no, FaceTime does not count!! 

It scares me that in a world where we are so easily connected, real communication is often lost. We are dedicated to investing time into our work and into our endeavours – so much so that the simple art of communication (that is so critical to maintaining a relationship) is lost. We live in a materialistic world where the consumption of goods and possession can make us temporarily happy. But for me, true happiness occurs when I am relaxing with friends and chatting away. Humans, by nature, are sociable species. The time in which we are living in is alienating and lonely. I don’t want to see the new car you bought on finance on your Instagram. The truth is – no one really cares.

Friendships, on the whole are healthy and rewarding. The struggle of maintaining them isn’t too strenuous when friends are ‘real’ friends. No matter how long you go without talking to your best friend, you can always resume as normal. You may have a lengthy conversation about what’s gone on in the past six months, but really – nothing has changed. A true bond can’t be easily destroyed. But, I am going to make more of a conscious effort to take time for people. 

I take time for my job.
I take time for putting on my makeup every morning.
I take time to worry (why..)
I even take time to talk to my dogs (obviously).

So, why don’t I take more time to arrange plans?

It’s not easy that’s why! Everyone has schedules that they follow and part of growing up means long-distance friendships. But, making sure we’re in sync with our besties is one of the most important things. I guess even if it means communicating via text until we can next see them again – then so be it! But even that seems like a chore!! In reality, it only takes a couple of seconds, at max a few minutes to send a text. And try to remember to text your mates back with nice timekeeping!

Let’s all try and take time for people that matter. Even if the message is a simple, ‘Hello’. Let’s make our buds feel loved and give them a simple reminder that they still mean a lot to us.

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