We've all heard the stories of people on their death-beds saying things like, "I wish I had made more time for my family and friends," or "I wish I had played more, not taken it all so seriously." We pass around inspirational blog posts on Facebook of experienced mothers saying things such as, "I wish I had worried far less about keeping the house clean and far more about playing," and from the wise women who reach the maturity to be able to say, "I wish I had eaten more ice cream with friends instead of forever trying to lose those stubborn 5 lbs. What a waste of energy my entire life!" We hear the wisdom. And we resonate. We know deep down that it is truth. But knowing something and having it change the way we live our lives are two very different things.
It's past time, my GirlFriends, that we choose friendship even when it feels inconvenient, expensive, and time-consuming. Even when we think we prefer sitting on the couch. Even when we think we don't have the money to visit her. Even when we think we don't have the time to call.
It's time to choose friendship in higher doses. It's the medicine our bodies and souls are dying without. It's the cure to that which ails us. It's the love that will remind us how connected and supported we are. It's the peace that comes with knowing we are not alone. It's the safety net that will protect us when the storms come... and they always do.
What Could Choosing Friendship Look Like?
Choosing friendship means not missing the weddings, the birthdays, the big moments. We do whatever we can to be there even if it means buying a cheaper used car, forgoing a shopping trip, or putting off the new dishwasher.
Choosing friendship means we get on a plane and go see her. Just because you miss her. Even if the plane ticket goes on the credit card. We put far less important things on there and the investment is well worth it.
Choosing friendship means we tell our spouses, our kids, and our bosses that our annual girls weekend away is a non-negotiable. We are going. Every year. We don't ask if we can afford it this year, have the time, or if it's convenient on everyone else-- we say yes and figure it out. That's how we roll; that's what we do.
Choosing friendship means saying yes to a spontaneous invitation. Or better yet, being the one to give a spontaneous invitation! I made a pot of soup-- can you come over tonight?
Choosing friendship means not allowing "tired" to be an excuse (the only exception is if you really will sleep during that exact time!) as whatever else we go home and do instead won't make us less tired, but it will make us less connected.
Choosing friendship means buying a random card at the grocery store, writing a few lines of love, and mailing it out to someone who pops into your heart. $4 and 10 minutes is always worth it. Always.
Choosing friendship means initiating with new friends. Even when the time together isn't yet as easy, meaningful and intimate as you would like it to be. You initiate in faith that some of them will one day be your best friends. Much like we work out not because we see the difference in each work-out, but because we know we will over the long run.
Choosing friendship means telling your kids, "Just like you played with your friends today, it's time for mommy to go play with hers" even when they beg for you to stay home. (And the more regular you are with going out, the easier it will be on everyone else!)
Choosing friendship means not letting your pouting lover dissuade you from going out... but saying, "I can't wait to come home... but I know if I want meaningful friendships that they require time together. Thank you for supporting that!" And then kiss him/her on the mouth so hard that they recall just how much you love them... and then walk away for a few hours with women who will love you in different ways.
Choosing friendship means saying yes to more sleep-overs, more weekends away, more dinners around your table with friends, more evenings out, and more hours spent in conversation.
Choosing Friendship From a Place of Love and Hope
Yes we need boundaries,
yes we need to listen to our bodies,
yes we need to say no more often to some things,
yes we need to take our temperaments into consideration,
yes we are busy,
yes we don't want to rack up credit card bills,
yes we have more meaningful relationships to consider besides our friends...
yes, there are always ifs, and's, & but's....
This isn't a post about draining yourself more and giving more when it feels yucky... no, this is a post about saying yes to people who have the highest likelihood of loving you in meaningful ways.
This is a post that reminds us that if we want to feel known, then we want to say yes to more conversation. That if we want to feel supported, then we want to say yes to more vulnerability. That if we want to feel joy, then we want to say yes to more moments that make memories. That if we want to feel connected, then we must fly, call, and talk more. That if we want good friendships then we will want to invest whatever we can today knowing it will come back to us in fabulous ways.
It is all so very easy to get used to the routine, the slow drain on our lives, the ongoing stress of our finances, the burden of everyone needing more of us... but that is not the way we choose to live. We want more. WAY more love and laughter and connection and joy. Way more!
And you, and only you, can choose to say, "I will not let a year pass without us getting together. I will not let this week pass without meeting a friend after work. I will not let this evening pass without calling a friend and telling her that I miss her."
We do it not from guilt, but from love. From the whisper of our future self saying to us now, "You won't regret having more love and connection in your life. Do it. Say yes." We do it because we know this is what we value and how we want to structure our lives.
We will probably feel busy, tired, and broke whether we reach out or not... at least if we don't use those as excuses to not then we will at least have the friendships in our lives that energize us and protect us from the effects of the stress!
Choose Friends. Make Time. Repeat.
Always in love,
Leave a comment: what excuse do you most consistently use to not spend more time with friends? What would it take to not see that excuse as a limitation or justified reason to not pursue more love? Are you willing to consider that you might feel that way no matter whether you do or don't spend more time with friends but that one option might leave you with more love and joy, too?