You may have heard it said before that relationships take work. It's very true. What I am not sure folks realize is that all relationships take work, not just the romantic ones. Where that gets confusing is that most don't view their friendships as needing an effort. Well, why not? We want the best for our friendships and want our romantic relationships to work out; so why wouldn't we put forth the energy to insure that?!
Not long ago, I relocated to my hometown of Seattle, a move that surprised even me. My reason, was to be nearer to my parents, who are about to be eighty. I adored Chicago and the many friends I had there, but my folks were first on my mind. In all truth, I grew closer to my parents when I moved to Chicago in 2001. Absence makes the heart grow fonder! But, as they near eighty years old, I knew this time would be precious. It was worth the effort
Additionally, in leaving Chicago my closest friends were important enough to me to focus my energies on maintaining those relationships. To that end, I initiated FaceTime and Skype cocktail dates. At first they felt weird. It took me to set them up, adjust for time change, and be ready with stories and questions. Now, after a year plus of doing them, they are instigated on both sides and my friendships have grown stronger!
My dear friend Greg Lash and I connect every three weeks for a cocktail(s). We catch up on work, what we are up to in life, and most always our recent would-be-love-interests. Greg will tell you himself, he's not much of a talker, but he and I can go on and on. Our last FaceTime cocktail date lasted an hour. I got off the phone truly appreciating our friendship and the growth its had; even though we are thousands of miles apart.
Additionally, Greg is a postcard writer. Even when we only lived a few miles apart, we would send each other post cards. Sounds silly, but they really make our friendship all the more special.
Up until I relocated back to Seattle, my Bosom Friend David and I never lived in the same city. We managed to chit-chat and correspond no matter how far apart we were. At one point, he lived in Kazakhstan, while I lived in Chicago. Didn't matter. We talked once or twice a week. It's the reason why "I don't have the time" doesn't work for me. We choose how to spend our time. I am thankful that David chose to invest his efforts in me!
I wonder, what simple actions and efforts can you take and make to increase the strength of your friendships, romantic or otherwise? Simple things like phone calls, (That's what can also be done with the device in your hand) letter writing, or FaceTime/Skype/WhatsApp dates? Many of us are quick to complain about the state of our relationships, but can find a simple answer in the effort we make to insure their success.
I look at it like going up a slide backwards. Remember doing that as a child on the playground? It was always a lot of fun to see if you could get all the way up the slide. The funny thing was, if you stopped your effort for just a moment, you would slide to the bottom. I think our relationships can be much the same. They take purposeful determination for them to succeed, and the dedication to make them grow.
Get to work!