Callie at Through Clouded Glass has started a blog series on ‘Friendship‘. My friends (online and ‘IRL’) often joke that I seem to apparently ‘know everyone’ (I really don’t), but I guess it’s because I love networking and building relationships with people. So I love the idea of this blog series, and couldn’t help but join in!
I really suck at friendship maintenance.
There are a few reasons for this.
1. My health since I was about 16 is so unpredictable. I usually put work first, volunteer commitments second and friendships last. Particularly in winter time, I avoid people, because they have germs. And germs are evil. They make me sick. For aaaagggeess.
2. I don’t have the same interests as the majority of my friends. None of my current friends were dancers. None of them are crazy gymnastics fans. We don’t all have the same taste in film and TV (this especially a continued issue with my female friends who are fond of chick flicks or shows like X Factor and Gossip Girl). Oh, and being around very drunk people makes me nervous.
3. My life is a little bit mental. I have lots of friends and they are all very different people, with different beliefs, different personalities and at different life stages (birthdays are a nightmare – there is no way I can celebrate my birthday with all my friends at the same time, doing the same thing). I’m a pretty busy person. My family are…well…hmmm….yeah. Recently a fairly new friend on learning a bit more about my history said to me ‘How are you not completely insane?! Like…how are you normal?’
SO. I’m really not the best person to be giving tips on maintenance. But here’s how I’ve been trying to keep up.
1. I use the seriously long and dull bus journeys to and from work to catch up with people by text message. I do pray for my friends (yes, I’m weird like that) and usually if you pop into my mind while I’m chatting to God, you end up getting a text. Or a tweet soon after. Just checking up on you, and maybe seeing when you are next free to meet up.
2. Facebook. I try to keep up with my long distance friends by stalking them online. (Hi Nicola!) I ‘like’ and comment on their statuses. Ya know, just to remind them that I’m still interested in their lives and care about what they choose to share.
3. I rarely get the chance to travel to see friends, but if I think I could be near them and there’s a chance I could see them, then I’ll give them a shout to see if they can meet up. Even if it means getting a tube across London so I can eat lunch on a station bench for a 20 min catch up before I have to head back to Scotland.
4. I try to find the shared interest we have (no matter how geeky) and organise with them to do things around that. Like stalking Ray Meagher with Rebecca, Ruth, Oli and Mike. Watching NCIS with my friends Kathy and Duncan. Going to the gym with my friends from high school. Going to watch football with Richard and Ralph. Spending time with my friends Brian & Vicky and Andy & Carrie usually involves their kids (that’s Miss S, Mini Kahuna, Elastatoddler and Mr Teapot to all you folks) and sometimes we have ‘grown up time’ (dinners with serious grown up chat when kids are asleep, or outings when they have babysitters!) but it’s usually always preceded with time where they continually let me be a corruptive influence on their children indoctrinating them with Lilo & Stitch, Sylvanian Families, stoned sounding skater mice, headbanging and *occasionally* a little bit of mischief. Ahem
5. Shared experiences. Once in a while, you need to do something you don’t do every day with your friends. Whether it’s hanging out on the beach, going on holiday together, going to get a tattoo or trying out something new…you’re gonna make memories which you’ll look back and reminisce together on.
I’d love to know what you guys think, and tips you have on how I can be a better friend to people.