I just enjoyed another great week with my gal pals. Shared experiences with women I really like, as well as those I want to get to know. And I have more of these outings planned. Actions speak louder than words and if want to continue to preach and write about the importance of friendships, then I must nurture my own.
So how much do you value your relationships – I mean really value them?
There’s no doubt that social media has created many opportunities for people to interact with one another. But regardless, social media is not a substitute for face-to-face engagement. You may have hundreds (or thousands) of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and Google+ circle members, but does that really fulfill your deep need for authentic alliances? I would venture to say, “it does not”.
So what is friendship? I define it as a voluntary connection, a bond between two or more people that transcends race, religion, gender, economics, or political persuasion. It’s knowing you can count on someone to be there when things are going well and when things are not. It’s having someone to laugh with, cry with, dance with, and celebrate with. It’s trusting someone enough to reveal that side of yourself, a side that you would not often share.
The wonderful thing is that friendships are not only good for the soul, but good for the body as well. There are numerous studies showing the correlation between physical isolation and various diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
Yes, I know people are busy with their careers, the needs of their children, and countless other things that demand time and attention. But that being said, like anything else that’s worthwhile, maintaining your friendships takes effort and action.
So what can you do?
You can make regular lunch or dinner dates with your inner circle of friends. You can try new activities together, such as hiking, canoeing, running, walking, or even volunteer together at your favorite charity or not-for-profit. If you can’t do these things on a regular basis, then call your friends instead of texting, or send a handwritten note or card instead of an email. If your friends are scattered around the country, see if you can meet for a reunion at least once a year at a different location. One of my besties and I go to Miraval Spa every year for a girl’s weekend. Whatever you do, try and keep the meeting, at least, partially focused on personal stuff, it just business related matters.
It Takes Work.
Meet-ups with friends don’t just happen, they need to be planned. So one thing that works for me and my pals is to plan our next meeting before we part. For example, if we are having lunch, before we are finished, we schedule our next lunch.
Of course, all of this is not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t make new friends. Adding new folks to your coterie of alliances make life interesting. So if you have a new co-worker or neighbor who you have a good vibe about, go for it and invite them to coffee. You never know what can come of it, maybe just a pleasant acquaintance, or maybe a close lifelong friend who will be there for you. My friends come from my spiritual community, my business community, my recovery community, my volunteer community, and my neighborhood.
Again, this all requires action and commitment. But you can’t put a price on good friendships because they are truly invaluable!
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