Ode to Old Friends

You know when you buy a new pair of jeans and they fit so well you start wearing them every day? And you suddenly realize that you haven’t worn your older pair of everyday jeans in forever?

Well that’s a pretty lame metaphor for what I often worry is happening with my friends. I spend so much time these days nurturing new relationships and waiting to see if a local BFF will emerge that I forget—or don’t take the time—to give my current best friends the attention they deserve.

According to the Gallup organization (you know, the one that does all those polls), people who’ve told a buddy how much they value their friendship in the past month are 48% more likely to report being ‘extremely satisfied’ with the friendships in their lives. That doesn’t mean I can’t focus on the friendships I hope to have, too. It’s just that I need to take a moment every now and then to remind myself—and my friends—how lucky I am to have them (even if seeing them means crossing state lines).

Because I’m devoting a chunk of my time right now to meeting new people and “dating” new girls, as well as the fact that very few of my phone-a-friends are in the same time zone, I’ve had trouble connecting with old friends on the telephone. Two of my closest friends live in San Francisco and the two hour time difference coupled with our hectic schedules means we can rarely hear each other’s voices. (In fact, just writing this reminds me that I owe Naomi a call.) And sometimes, when I haven’t talked to someone in a while and feel I need to give a complete life update, even emailing can feel like a big task.

So between work, family, old friends and new, keeping up with everything and everyone can be tough. I try to deal with it by reaching out whenever, however. If I don’t have time for a phone call, I’ll shoot an email. If I see something that reminds me of someone, I’ll send a quick text to tell her I’m thinking of her.

These aren’t earth shattering revelations here, I realize that. But it’s a reminder that focusing too much on the friends we don’t have can have can get a person all Eeyore-ish. And reaching out to your existing friends—telling them that, you know, they’re, like, super cool—will make them feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And maybe even better? It will make you happy. Or happier. 48% so.

How do you balance keeping up with old friends and making new ones? Can you believe how easy it is to forget to tell friends you appreciate them? If all else fails, if you can’t find the words, send this ecard (or this one or this one). You can’t go wrong.

8 Comments

Filed under The Search

8 responses to “Ode to Old Friends

  1. Natalie

    funny statement – “48%”
    It is hard to keep up with all your friends. It is even harder when two or three of them (not friends themselves, only with me) all invite you to their once-a-year event on the same day and time. How to choose, how to choose??

    I will take your suggested card and send out today.
    Thanks for making it convenient to remind my friends they are special and important to me.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

  2. Lorrie Paige

    That’s the point I have been making; I wouldn’t have that many friends to begin with, thus not having that issue. I’ve never had a lot of friends in my life because I never found that many that I really click with, but I would have placed a limit number on friendships if I was a very popular person.

    In my opinion, there is a such thing as having too many friends; if you have too many, some are bound to be neglected. That may be OK to some people, but I’d prefer just having enough friends where I can spend time with them without feeling at times like it’s a chore or a bit of a bother to do.

    Quality over quantity.

    eCards are wonderful, especially if you have a lot of friends. I’ve never sent one before in my life though, preferring the old fashioned way, snail-mailing Hallmark cards.

  3. I am a sucker for cards. Love to send and receive them. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. I remember reading somewhere that when a friend moves away, the onus is on her to keep in touch with the friends “left behind.” This means me these days!

    To deal with that, I actually have a task in my planner to email at least one friend out of town each Monday with an update on my life, my weekend, etc. Sometimes I have more to say than others, but it is a disciplined approach to making sure my friends know I haven’t forgotten them.

    And you’re right, it does feel more satisfying when I remind them that I love them and want to stay in touch despite geography!

    Also, I adore sending and receiving cards, good point!

  5. pamela

    “One can’t complain. I have my friends. Someone spoke to me only yesterday.”
    –Eeyore

  6. I love making new friends but is true about the old ones being like your favourite pair of jeans.

    I reckon the best way to connect with friends not in the same time zone friends is to visit, or get them to visit you. It might not happen as regularly as a phone call but spending a whole solid weekend together is like getting all your friend time in one go. Can you ever remember spending a whole weekend with your friend in one hit when you lived nearby? I love showing my old friends my new city.

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