Never Take a Friend for Granted

I have the best friends in the world.  I mean, the BEST!  The kind with whom you can pick up the conversation without a pause after not talking for a month or a year.  Yes, those kinds of friends.

The challenge we face is that we’re not all in the same place.  Being scattered across geographies, across time zones, and across lifestyles sometimes makes it harder to connect.  We must invest in our friendships to make them work.

This isn’t always the case in the rest of the world.  Have you ever had friends at work, people you then separate from through job changes or other circumstances?  You all pledge to keep in touch, set up regular meet-ups or calls, and share.  As time goes on, though, your calls are fewer.  Excuses replace face time.  Soon, you drift apart.

Been there, done that.  I thought we were close – only to learn that once we no longer had the common ground of the (charming, challenging, disturbing) workplace to unite us, we had little else to talk about.

Then there are the other folks, the ones who you only grow closer to when the initial reason for being in daily contact fades in relevance.  They help you out.  You help them.  You miss each other if you don’t have regular interactions.

I’ll fully admit that sometimes I’ve been on the taking end rather than giving.  When my best friend fought cancer a couple of years ago, all my energy went into supporting her and her husband.  I didn’t have bandwidth left to be a good friend to others.

Or when I was in the depths of book writing or production, facing hurdles and dismay and disappointment.  I couldn’t hear the successes of my writer buddies, much less their problems.  Ditto during family or professional crises.

BUT… they all stuck with me.  In 2017, I realized I had unintentionally isolated myself from the people who meant the most in my tribe.  Some I met through other friends, or through writers’ groups, or through work or volunteering.  They come from every walk of life.  They only share two things – my love for them, and their total awesomeness!

I made a promise to myself to get back in touch.  I began slow, putting an item on my task list to contact one a month, then one every two weeks, and finally, now, at least once a week.  It’s turned into so much more.

I invest in this circle of support and love.  I, who hate alarm clocks, set my alarm early to talk with friends as they commute to their day jobs.  I make phone dates for no reason other than to talk.  I set walking dates with those who live in my town.  I support – and I get so much love in return!

My message is simple.  Don’t take your friends for granted.  When I needed to be one under the most difficult of conditions, I found that I could because the understanding of the others lifted me up.  Some days, you’re the basket of the hot air balloon, and sometimes, you need to find the anchor.

Pick up the phone, tap a text, or type an email.  Reach out, hang on, and give back.  Most of all, tell your friends you care!

How do you stay in touch with your friends, particularly the ones where contact isn’t easy?  Please share!

8 Comments

  • Lilian Simmonds

    April 21, 2018

    Oh, how I agree. I would like to feel that you never lose a close friend but it does happen and then suddenly they are not there anymore. There is a sense of sorrow and guilt over ones lack of effort to communicate.
    Kind regards
    Lilian

    • Yvonne Kohano

      April 22, 2018

      That’s why I always end each contact with an expression of love for that person, Lillian. You never know what can happen! Best – Yvonne

  • Nicky

    April 21, 2018

    Yvonne – this is a great post! Friends and family are so important to our well being. I schedule phone times with grandchildren after a text to set up a time. I regularly talk to one friend here in town on Saturday mornings. You’ve got me thinking about who else I want to contact!

    Thanks!
    Nicky

    • Yvonne Kohano

      April 22, 2018

      It’s great that you have such a wonderful connection to your grandkids, Nicky! Isn’t it great that distance is no longer an excuse to fall out of touch? Best – Yvonne

  • Karen Frost

    April 21, 2018

    Thank you The same has happened to me without my realizing it. Dear God you have hit he nail on the head. I didn’t know I was doing it. Sheesh. I can’t let my bad health keep me prisoner anymore. I loved you “blog”. Thank you!

    • Yvonne Kohano

      April 22, 2018

      I wish you improved health and loads of connections with the people you care about! Best – Yvonne

  • Patricia Rickrode

    April 22, 2018

    Amen sista! I also removed myself from my tribe when my husband and I made the decision to move across country. It’s hard to find a new tribe of people who “get” me and my writing, but I’m building on this end. I sure do miss my SVR gals and those friendships I had in California.

    I also try to keep in touch. It’s not always easy, especially when you have to keep playing phone tag or text message tag, but persistence does pay off.

    Carry on my friend.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Yvonne Kohano

      April 23, 2018

      Right back attacha, Patricia! I also find I don’t ‘trust’ as easily as I did when I was younger (read: more naive). But – that doesn’t mean I can’t build new meaningful friendships too. It’s all an investment! Hugs – Yvonne