Friendships are critical to enjoying life, but they become more difficult as we get older. My daughter frequently has friends over and it’s not a big deal if there are three or four extra girls sleeping all around the living room on the weekends. I recall the same type of memories from my childhood. She sends and receives daily texts to stay in the loop with her friends. At that age, I wandered throughout my house on the cordless phone and often got in trouble for not hanging it up to charge. She knows nothing about that or of wrapping the phone cord around yourself as you talked.
Times and technology have changed, but friendships remain crucial elements in life. I have discovered how difficult adult friendships are to maintain! Work schedules, spouses’ work schedules, children’s schedules, distance and family priorities limit the amount of time we get to spend catching up with our friends. Social media is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it allows us to see our friends and their families and to send a quick message to let them know we are thinking of them. It’s also beneficial for remembering birthdays. On the other hand, social media gives us a false sense of connectedness. It’s almost impossible to see past the surface and know what’s really going on in the lives of social media “friends”.
It’s important to make time for adult friendships. I am thankful that I was able to spend Memorial Day weekend doing just that. I have a dear friend that lives in Cullman. Tiffany and I had been planning our three-day weekend for weeks. We had concert tickets and we planned other outings around the main event. The anticipation was intense!
When I got to her house on Friday evening, we talked ourselves into the wee hours of Saturday morning, took a nap and headed out for adventure. Tiffany, my daughter and I saw many of the sights and attractions in north Alabama, but more than that, we made memories and laughed a lot.
Planning ahead and setting the time aside to spend with my sweet friend was the absolute best gift I have given to myself in a very long time! It was refreshing to step away from my normal for a while and to learn more about where she lives and what she does on a daily basis. It’s just different when you see it for yourself. It was good to laugh, to listen to great music and to discuss the great mysteries and the entertaining aspects of life while drinking coffee and wandering through used book stores. When your friends love the same things you do, life is good! When the interests are more diverse, you learn and teach something new. It’s a win-win situation.
Driving home, I thought of the people that I consider my closest friends and the situations that allowed us to meet. Some are from college. Some are from childhood. Some are from the many summers I spent working at WorldSong Missions Place in Cook Springs. Some are in South Dakota, a result of spending a summer in Montana on summer missions twenty years ago. Tiffany is one of those rare people that became a quick friend because we worked at the same place several years ago. I never planned on meeting a true friend at work, but I am so thankful. So, pay attention to the people around you. They could be great blessings to you.
I admit that situations and circumstances that come with age and responsibility do change the dynamics of friendships. It’s not often that we get to gather with friends and spend hours talking like the teen girls who come to my house do, but it is important to prioritize friendships as adults.
Summer is here and the days are longer. Text a friend and meet for coffee or take a walk together. Affording time to invest in your relationships will yield the rich dividends of reduced stress and wonderful memories.
Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.