How are your in-person friendships lately? Admit it, you just got done checking Facebook, tweeting someone back, totally liking someone’s feel good vibe they posted on Instagram. You want to know how I know…because you’re reading this. Okay, so maybe (big, fat maybe) you don’t have a social media account and you didn’t follow a link to get here, but you do have some sort of desire to take a quick breather from your life and see what someone else is dealing with. Whether it be good, bad or ugly . . . you need a break, and that’s totally normal. We all do it. We all have that desire to see who’s in the same boat, whose boat we’d like to have, and whose boat is sinking. But are we heeding the recommended dose prescribed or are we ignoring the warning signals to maybe pump the brakes and disconnect?
I’m the first person to admit that sometimes it gets really easy to get sucked into someone else’s achievements and start planning my own pity party. I think Cosmopolitan magazine said it best when they said that people’s Facebook accounts are like their Greatest Hits albums, meaning you’re never going to see the rocky road that led to their carefully-curated success. And more importantly, that road could be invisible because it’s not really leading to anything truthful. So why do we get sucked right back in? Before we know it, we’re refreshing our newsfeeds.
I think we’ve got start from the beginning. What’s the beginning? It’s me! Well, if you are reading this, it is (insert your name here)! What are we seeking when we’re using our social media platforms? Reconnecting with old friends, great! Pinning to your Summer Recipes To Try board, even better! Finding the best e-cards to send to your BFF, me too! It’s when we start getting sucked into, “I’m never wearing a bathing suit again, my hair sucks, how’d she lose so much weight, he married who?” that we start to waste not only time, but we start to lose our feel good vibes we just got done pinning with serious intent. The beginning, may in fact, be the end. It’s time to log off, or at least turn off our notifications. Baby steps people, baby steps.
This next part will be tricky. There will be some apprehension and maybe even a broken nail or two. It’s time we start spending time with . . . our real human friends. Duh! I know, it is never easy to get in the same place at the same time. As an admitted creature of obsessive planning and scheduling, I make it a point to get stuff on my (handwritten) calendar, even months ahead of time. It can be coffee, running to Target together, stopping by on a Friday after work. Anything. If we want to keep that genuine friend-ship afloat (get it?) we’ve got to put in a little bit of rowing. My friends and I have gotten into the routine of planning our girls nights MONTHS ahead of time. This allows us all to coordinate work schedules, babysitters, AKA no excuse not to have it. The best part? A mandatory elastic waistband rule is in effect at all times.
The last part is kind of easy. Connecting with your friends or building a friendship should never feel like a chore. Is it work? Totally. But it should always be worth it. Your love tank should always be full after leaving Starbucks with your go-to girl and you should always hang up the phone feeling like your battery has been recharged.
And seriously, who’s ever going to turn down a trip to Target in yoga pants?
How do you make sure you have time with your friends? When you arrive at a new duty station, how do you go about making plans with new friends?