New Year’s Resolution: Deepen Friendships

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I mentioned previously that I made Tim engage in a “reflection on the past year and intentions for the upcoming year.” The thing that he brought up — that I promptly adopted — was the desire to maintain closer relationships with the people in our lives. He kept describing it as “casual friendships,” which I kept hearing as “a lot of not-that-close friends.” But what he really meant was friendships that we don’t treat as precious events, instead getting to the level of friendship where you can make casual plans the day-of or be just as happy meeting up for a single drink versus a whole big night out. I love the sound of that — don’t you?

It’s my theory that everyone wants a FRIENDS-ship. Obviously, with TV being my #1 hobby/interest, I do mean the NBC hit comedy from 1994-2004. The show follows friends across three different apartments in NYC who could just show up unannounced constantly, make fun of each other, have fights and patch things up, and it somehow it all wasn’t weird. (See also: ‘Seinfeld’; ‘Clarissa Explains It All’; I’m pretty sure ‘The Big Bang Theory’ also has this?) I’ve never had an adult FRIENDS-ship. (I sort of had those uber-close, do-everything-together friendships in elementary/middle school but realistically that’s just not the same.)

In reality I’m too afraid to not constantly have my front door locked so I will never have that type of friendship. So here are some things I’m trying to do to foster greater friendships!

  • Just send the text. If it’s been a while, don’t be afraid to send a quick “hey! been thinking about you” message.  A lot of times, I get in my head like, “It’s been too long. I’ll need to do a proper full hours-long catch-up session and right now I can’t commit to that.” But that just keeps me from catching up even longer. Just send the message now!
  • Organize a group event. If I want to start a friendship with someone and we have mutual friends, I’ll probably invite them all over for cocktails or a dinner party. That way, it’s a lower-stress environment because there are many people that we know well, and there are only one or two people we are getting to know. The biggest fear is usually that you don’t know what to talk about, and by having another party present, you can learn about them more indirectly without the pressure!
  • Invite them to what you’re already doing. This one was a bit of an “aha” moment when I decided on my New Year’s Resolutions. Because I wanted to experience more, why can’t I two-birds-one-stone it by inviting a friend along? I want to visit a couple local wineries. When I do, I’ll invite someone I know who’d enjoy it. There’s a concert coming up I’m dying to attend, or a bar I want to visit, or a workout I want to try. Add a friend and get drinks after! It’s a perfect system.

I think a lot of people struggle with keeping up friendships. In fact, I saw recently that people form an average of 400 friendships in their life but only keep 33. TBH my first thought when I heard they keep 33 was “wow, that many?” I think it’s hard to maintain pretty much all friendships. And I’m an extrovert, so I can only imagine it’s even more difficult for an introvert. Make it easy on yourself, then, and remove the pressure. And don’t forget to lock your doors, even if your friend does live nearby. This world has as many Chandlers as it does Janices.


PS: I’ve been getting a LOT of comments on my bullet journal. I’m obsessed! I got all my gear on Amazon: dot-matrix notebook | fine-point markers | stencils (MUST!) | washi tape

Day 11: Friend Time

Here’s a basic usage of my time:

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As evidenced by the chart, I spend barely more time with friends than I do standing in front of my closet in the morning. (And way too much time watching TV, but we all already knew that and are pretending to consider it cute/endearing, right?)

I don’t spend enough time with my friends. It’s been an eternal weakness. I’m an extrovert (an ENTJ, to be exact) and love spending time with other people, but I am fiercely protective of doing what I want. For example, right now I am sitting at my kitchen table with a beer (see the yellow pie piece) and listening to the Chicago soundtrack. (Side note: my dream role is Velma Kelly.) I often prefer to do something specific in the moment over whatever I could be doing with friends.

To be clear, I love my friends. I want to be social and have a rollicking good time at my weekly pub trivia or at a great epicurean dining experience or doing something totally basic like bowling. But I don’t do any of that super often, because I love doing my own thing. The most time I’ve ever spent with one non-me human being willingly is with my bae (see the green pie piece) and that barely counts because a lot of that time we are watching TV (orange pie piece).

I’ve noticed recently that I am WAY less likely to spend time with my friends when it gets dark early. Why is this? 70% sure it’s because of the whole seasonal affective disorder thing coupled with the days feeling shorter than a long summer day. When days feel shorter, I feel less satisfied with my overall day because, no matter how productive, leaving work or finally leaving the house after dark is a huge bummer. People need sunshine. (Ha, like Mary Sunshine from Chicago. Did I mention I’m listening to the soundtrack?) It almost seems like the day is over already and it’s too late to be social. Weird.

Today, I was tempted to skip my regular Tuesday night trivia. But then I realized it was GORGEOUS outside, and that earnestly was the breaking point to convince me to be social. I’m not overthinking this by connecting a gorgeous, sunny day to a day fit for drinking beer in a pub. That’s not what this is. But it’s sunny outside, which means in California terms it’s basically summer. And summer is the best season, the season where you get to wear shorts and sit outside and barbecue and just do. what. you. want.

Summer is the season to actually shave your legs, to take walks at 8pm, to make s’mores even if you don’t like them that much. Summer is the best. So are your friends. So get your fill until it gets dark early again.