Too often on this blog, you see me preaching about what it means to enjoy time alone. Honestly, my alone time is what keeps me healthy, focused, and sane. I tell everyone that my last couple of years in my late 20’s have truly been my happiest, but I know that I couldn’t have gotten here without my adult friendships. It’s not just my girlfriends or the friends that I’ve known all my life, but it’s those friendships that I’ve had to work at. And it hasn’t been easy. For the record, it’s still a work in progress!
One of my love languages is quality time. It’s no surprise that that part of what makes relationships work for me also translates into friendships. In the last year, I’ve made an effort to keep my quality time with friends routine. I recognize that’s not a sexy way of describing this at all, but hear me out. With my guys friends, we have a common interest in chain restaurants so we make plans to catch up over a meal and at a different spot in the city. This satisfies a few things: quality time, hunger, and exploring new parts of town. For my girlfriend who stays active, we go to CorePower every weekend and follow it up with brunch. If you keep things on a regular schedule, there’s accountability here. Plus you’ve given yourself an amount of time that makes sense for you to catch up on things you’ve missed.
Adult friendships are vastly different than the friendships I had when I was in high school, college, or even my early 20’s. There’s so much depth to the conversations we’re having now and it feels like for the most part, we’re all on the same page. The meat of our discussions are around relationships, friendships (there it is again!) careers, and of course, always feeling like we never have it together. No matter what you believe, it’s true, no one has it together. It’s comforting to know that my friends feel the same way as I do despite what careers we’ve ended up in or our relationship status. In a way, it’s more universal than you think.
There are a few things that pose as challenges. It is always distance and stages of life. With Mandi getting her PhD in New York, three hours difference may not seem like a lot. However, it is when you’re trying to catch up by phone and I’m home from work at 7PM. I haven’t been back to Seattle since the holidays, which means that when I see Veronica in October, I’ll be asking her what she did since January. When I learn that my own friends are growing out their families, I couldn’t be happier for them. This is a chapter, however, that I’m not able to relate to yet. And with that, I carry guilt. It feels like there’s more that I could be doing, but I don’t know how. I want to check in and visit, but I don’t want to overwhelm them as new parents.
In 2019, you may have noticed me distancing myself from social media a bit. There does seem to be one thing that it is good for though! A quick post or an Instagram story can instantly make that distance feel smaller. The positive light in this is that it allows people to know what you’re doing and what you’re up to. Yes, it is a double edged sword, but let’s just focus on the pros. It also lets people engage quicker than you would otherwise. On a story, Instagram allows quick reactions with emojis and while it may seem like a small gesture, it goes a long way. On my end, it tells me that my friends see me and that they are open for a conversation and we can chat instantly.
I’ll always feel these struggles of wanting to catch up with every friend on an appropriate timeline or being in two places at once. Technology is not that advanced yet so I have to make do with what I have. What I do know is that these are the most important friendships in my life. Not only have they stood the test of time and ended up being longer lasting than others, but they’re going to make it through the important chapters that are coming up next.