We Interrupt this Programming
I’m currently in the middle of a series about friendship drifts and rifts with so much more to say (and I know I specifically committed myself last week to writing another blog about how adultery can impact our friendships– I won’t forget!) but in honor of our 500 new members in the last week, I’m interrupting my own series.
My Trip to the TODAY Show
Last Thursday I was sitting in a plane on the tarmac at the JFK airport at 9 am– the exact time I was supposed to be arriving freshly showered to the TODAY show green room for make-up and prep. The production team had arranged for me to fly from San Francisco to NYC on a red- eye because I had a commitment the evening before that I didn’t want to break. My plane had been delayed over 2 hours and my chances of arriving at the studio in time for my 10:14 am segment were diminishing rapidly.I had stopped caring about looking under-slept and un-showered on national TV and instead just hoped I’d even make it to the studio with five minutes to change out of my jeans! Sitting in Manhattan gridlock en route to the studio, I whispered the serenity prayer– the part about giving me peace about the things you cannot change– and then simply hoped for the best.
Two minutes before we went on air–I hadn’t gone to the bathroom, sipped any coffee, been prepped by any producers, or checked myself in a mirror–I stood as ready as I was going to be. Three minutes later we were done. With four women sharing moments of rapid fire conversation, one simply cannot say much or say it all the way they wished they had. Even if I had been more fully awake!
Here are Three Things I Wish I Had Time to Say:
1) Confirmed Friends: When Kathie Lee asked me if it was common to have a wonderful friend that she only talks with once a year since they can pick up where they left off, I wish I could have said, “Yes! That is common. And incredibly meaningful. Those friends from our past (Confirmed Friends: the middle circle on my Circles of Connectedness), who we may have intimacy with but lack consistency, play a significant role in our lives with many benefits.
But they are only one of the five types of friends. If we don’t realize that, then what else can become too common is a sense of not feeling known, supported, and connected if we haven’t also built up the Community and Committed Friends on the right-side of the Continuum–the friends who we consistently make time for and share vulnerably with.
2) Where do women go to make friends? Way more important than where we meet each other is how we turn our friendliness into a friendship.The truth is we can meet people anywhere. And we do. But without starting the five steps of friendship with them– they risk simply becoming a nice person we meet, rather than a potential friend.
The first two steps of friendship are to 1) be open and 2) initiate contact repeatedly.
The importance for us to be open to new friends cannot be underestimated. We all too often dismiss people if we can’t see us having big obvious things in common– like both being mothers, both being retired, or both being single. But in the book Click– the Brafman brothers say that the quantity of things in common is more important than the quality we assign to those commonalities:
“Sharing a strong dislike of fast food, for example, was just as powerful of a predictor of attraction as favoring them same political party.”
In other words, if we find out we both enjoy hiking, turn our noses up to Top 40 music, and love to eat kale– those three “smaller” things will actually increase our bond more than any of those biggies we think we just have to have in common. We can be so much more curious and open-minded about people than most of us are. (In fact, we need to be since it takes a little longer for kale to come up in our conversations!)
And the second step of building a friendship–repeated initiation–is where many possible friendships get stopped in their tracks. We like each other, or are at least open to getting to know each other more, but if we don’t make those next few connections happen sooner, rather than later, we lose any momentum we could have had together. We simply have to be the ones to email and say, “So great to meet you– I would love to get to know you better, maybe we can connect for dinner after work one night next week. Any chance you can do Tuesday or Wednesday? If not, let me know what dates work for you and I’ll schedule in the time!”
My best friends aren’t always the ones I simply liked the best initially, rather they were the ones I saw regularly, giving me the chance to feel comfortable with them and fall in love with them.
3). Is it okay to let go of some of my friendships? I stand by my answer on this one but wish I had more time to explain how friendships shift. My gut reaction to this question is that we are all getting a little too trigger happy in ending friendships before practicing ways of showing up differently. Our tendency is to get more and more annoyed with certain people for their behaviors until we can’t take it anymore so then we just cut them out of our lives and justify it with a “they were unhealthy or toxic.” Whereas most of our friendships could not only be saved, but strengthened, if we learned the skills of asking for what we need from each other, withholding judgment, working on our own self-esteem so that jealousy is inspiring, not frustrating, and learning to forgive each other.
While Kathie Lee joked that usually “it’s not us, but them” who is at fault, I actually disagree. Yes they can be annoying, insensitive, and selfish. But who among us isn’t those things? (And how easy is it for us to interpret their actions with those words when it simply means they just make different choices than we do!) The truth is that when we can’t stand someone– it’s usually showing us something about ourselves. In those moments of blame we can see more clearly what skills we need to learn in order to best hold our peace and joy no matter what they are doing and figure out to practice showing up with different responses that might yield different results.
With that said, friendships do shift. In my 5 Circles of Connectedness, just as people we meet can move from the far-left with Contact Friends (the least intimate) to the far-right with Commitment Friends (the most intimate and consistent) so can our friendships move the other direction. There are good chances that several of the women we feel closest to now might someday shift to circles where our friendship isn’t as vulnerable or consistent. That is normal. Our lives do change. But even then, we don’t need to replace all our friends with every baby, divorce, marriage, annoyance, frustration, or move. Our call with some of those women is to figure out how to show up in those awkward transitions, hold what we’ve shared with an open hand, and work at co-creating something new together.
So until they make time for me to give at least a 20 or 30 minute interview– I’ll just keep blogging!
A most sincere welcome to all our new members who joined after seeing me on the TODAY show last week or read about us in the New York Times style section. Blessings on you as you courageously connect with new women, consistently choose to show up with honesty and positivity, and as you turn the friendly people you meet into friends who matter in your life.
Pre-order my Book: Also, my forthcoming book is all about how to meet people and turn them into friendships that really matter, including the skills of forgiveness, asking for what we need from our friends, and how to appropriately increase our vulnerability. You can pre-order it now on Amazon!