I’ve lived in three continents, attended six different schools from elementary to university, made a countless number of friends and one of the biggest compliments that I have received is the fact that I do a great job at staying in touch with the friends that I’ve made globally. So, how do I stay in touch with my lawyer friend in Paris or the public health worker in Arusha or even the flight attendant in Toronto?
Well to me, it all boils down to how meaningful I find the friendships that I have made. I have found that the friendships that have stood the test of time and locales are those that I have placed tremendous value on. Value in terms of the countless ways and time I spend touching base with them and how often I touch base with them. So how do I actually do this?
1. I communicate based on my availability
It’s no lie that many times we try to be superwomen and be all things to all people; however that strategy is usually counter productive. If you don't make your schedule a priority, you will never get anything done! So what I do is I look at blocks of time that I have available and schedule skype sessions and whatsapp calls with friends. If I don't have the time - I don't schedule a call. It’s that simple to me.
2. I prioritize friends who prioritize me
This might sound selfish but it’s true. Many times we expend a lot of energy on non - reciprocated relationships and all that breeds is resentment. Have you ever heard someone say - I put all my time into listening to their problems but they never do the same for me? Well, that individual is probably prioritizing people who do not consider them a priority. It’s a tough lesson to learn but you need to water those that water you, not those that rob you of your time and value.
3. I stop for friends going through a tough time
One thing that I have made a rule for is that if someone needs my help, I will do all I can to provide it. This is especially true with friendships. Some of the closest friendships that I have have made, were been born out of difficult times and the fact that we were able to go through it as a friend-team, resulted in a connection that needed to be valued and fostered. So if someone texts me a 911, I absolutely will excuse myself from a meeting or drop what I am doing to attend to my friends. I value people, and when you value people staying in touch isn't a chore, it’s showing love.
4. I realize that I am only human
Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to get to everybody and that’s ok! You are one person and you should always first and foremost be kind and good to yourself. You should never feel obligated to stay in touch. If you feel as though relationships are slipping and that you are unable to stay in touch - take a step back. Evaluate where you can find time, prioritize it and then act. Nothing is worse than saying that you will do something and then beating yourself up for not following through!
Be gentle with yourself. You are only human. Do your best. That’s as much as anyone can ask of you.
Three women going through life.