Make time.

Make time for yoga.

Make time for yourself.

If you’re looking for an image of a quotation about making time for friends, you might be out of luck.  A bevy of offerings on this subject is not available on the Internet.  This might seem odd considering that while some people have no time for their family members, they will make time for their cherished friendships.

Does this scenario sound familiar to you?

I asked my friend if she and her family were available to get together with my family and me.  She said that they would be able to set a date three months from now.

You might have also experienced this situation:

I’ve tried to get together with my friend for months.  We set a date and then there is a reason why it has to be moved back.  Usually the reason involves a commitment that has been made, subsequently, to another family member, colleague or friend.

In the post letter, telephone, cell phone and E-mail era, do we have a false sense of how well connected with are to our friends?  When is the last time you had that friend over for drinks, dinner or an evening of socializing?  You know the one.  She’s a contact on your Facebook and Twitter page.  She “likes” your photos from time to time and sends you a message three times a year.  You both keep saying you should get together soon. If only you weren’t so busy with work, school and/or life.  When is the last time you picked up the phone and called your friend just to say “hello”? When is the last time she called you?

In decades past people were also very busy.  For evidence of just how busy they were, you can take a peak at social calendars that were often kept at the time. You might find one in a drawer or stuffed away in a box in the basement.  Back then people didn’t have many of the conveniences we have now.  It wasn’t as easy to convey information to people or organize events. Socializing was a way to connect with family, friends and colleagues.  Life was a constant succession of dinner parties for 8, tea/coffee meetings, large cocktail parties and backyard BBQs.  People didn’t feel the need to meet friends one-on-one. They could round up a group of disparate friends who didn’t know each other, bring them together and create an enjoyable evening.  It would be just as common to have a group of people who didn’t know each other versus a group of mutual friends.

Keeping this in mind, how can we break the impasse and make time for others? How can we subtly give out the message that we value friends who value our friendship too?

Here are some of the situations we encounter these days with friendships.  What can we do to switch it up and effect a change?

* You have hundreds of people connected to your Facebook account.  Some are people you know well and some you have never met.  How can you use this site to strengthen your connection – in particular with closer friends?

* You have tried for months to have someone come over for a visit.  There have been a number of near misses, promises made and cancellations on one or both sides. It might take as long as five months to successfully pin down a date.

* Should you be focussed on nurturing a friendship (not acquaintance) with someone who takes months or even years just to get together? Your partner says “no”. You say “maybe”.  Discuss.

* You’re on friendly “hello” terms with your neighbours but haven’t noticed any socializing since you moved in.  Should you start something?  Is a Vancouver Foundation funded block party a pipe dream?

* You recall having a gaggle of friends when you were younger. Meanwhile your young children haven’t been invited over to other childrens’ homes for a play date despite efforts on your side to arrange social events.  Should you be trying harder?Is Meetup.com your only option? If you orchestrate get togethers, since some haven’t been forthcoming, will you be accused of over programming your child’s life?

* Some of your best friendships involve people who moved away years ago.  How can you keep your friendships strong even though you live a continent apart?

* It has been more than a year – perhaps even a decade – since you moved to your current neighbourhood, city and/or country, yet you still haven’t made close friendships.  Are you going to the right events and activities?  Are you being friendly enough?  What’s going on? Are other people experiencing the same challenges in your community?

* You notice that people you know are always available to see friends and relatives who are in-town on vacation, but normally live in other exotic locales. Yet the same people won’t drive by to see you in your suburban location or rarely extend or accept an invitation to get together.  You’re contemplating a fake move to Paris/Tokyo/Rome.

* How many close friendships is enough?  Your sibling says you’re lucky if you can go through life with a handful of close friends.  You want much more than four or five.  Who is being realistic?

What role does your friendships play in your life?  If you aren’t from British Columbia, what successful ways have you discovered to put down roots and foster friendships in your community? How do or individual efforts with your friends help build a more connected community?

We’d love to hear from you so don’t be shy! You can comment about this posting using the comment function below or visit us at our Facebook page.

Related

Vancouver Foundation Survey Regarding Community Connections and Engagement (See section 8: Friendships)

I’m sending you love and tea,
To warm your winter’s day.
Think of me as you pour your cup
And all the good things we would say.
If we could be together now
Instead of miles apart,
We’d sip our teas and memories,
The sweet warmth fills the heart.

Susan Young

Here’s an idea from the Art of Friendship: Savoring The Fragrance of Time Together book.  Have a telephone [read Skype] tea party with long–distance friends

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