A few weeks ago, I went out (like out, out) for the first time in a LONG time (4 years to be exact). An old friend called and it was all too serendipitous. Tiny human was already with Grammie, I was already in the car with no destination in mind.
I know that am way too guilty of creating the "busyness". I get stuck in the ruts of expectations (the ones I place on myself), the to-do list, the "wife-work", the decision fatigue and so on. I often forget the power of connection, and while I'm being honest... I just don't "make" time for face-to-face friend connection. Not to mention, being a parent puts up a lot of invisible barriers. BUT this time was different, I said "YES. I'm going to be present, I'm going to connect with myself & others, I'm going to remember who I really am."
Benefits to maintaining connections with others:
Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also:
- Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
- Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
- Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
- Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
- Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise
I know that I'm part of a unique set of people who can honestly say that, they've had the same group of core friends for almost 20 years. We grew-up together. We experienced a lot of adolescent "firsts" together. We held each other up. Together we created a culture of inclusiveness, honesty and safety. A connection I cherish to this day and maybe it needs a but more nourishing. I think of them often, and wish them all the love in the world, but rarely extend an actual connection.
Ok, so how do you actually do this? You could send a plain 'ol "thinking of you text"... or you could...
- Call them on the phone just to chat, no agenda, just connecting
- Make and send a video, professing your friend-gratefulness
- Buy OR make a REAL card and send in the mail
- Pop by their work for a hello/hug
- Send them flowers, chocolates, cookies, donuts (anything really)
- Pop by their house with their favourite... insert whatever (drink, candy, popsicle, blizzard, etc)
- OR ACTUALLY INVITE THEM FOR A FACE-TO-FACE CONNECTION (coffee, gander through Chapters, wine, book club, this is really limitless)
- Favourite person doesn't live where you are? Pre-plan regular FaceTime dates.
I invite you to reach out to one of your friends (old or new). It will feel different then reaching out to the "work-friend" or the "brand-new-friend". I can say with confidence that when you (re)engage with people who are dearest to you, you will feel seen, heard and loved. Connection with "your people" has the ability to enrich your life, if you let it.
Be your authentic self (not the censored version of you),