I am beating a dead horse by stating that we are all busy.
We keep mentioning it, mostly out of guilt or perhaps a refusal to take full responsibility for the actions and choices we make each day. I don’t know about you but I get so tired of hearing it as an excuse for why we can’t make time for the people we say are important to us.
I love my girlfriends. I treasure their place in my life. I always enjoy the time we spend together.
Sometimes, planning a get together with them is way more trouble than its worth!
There, I said it.
I too remember the days long ago where spending all day with a best friend or group of friends was as essential as breathing. We took for granted that it would EVER be any other way. You couldn’t even try to tell us that it all would change one day. It would have been lost on us.
Enter adulthood. Enter responsibility, the ultimate buzz kills. Enter a whole new set of priorities that always seemed to take priority over our friends. We tried to stay connected, but many times what was required to upkeep our relationships was a herculean task that was not always reciprocated. We tried, we failed and then said “screw it” and let go.
Years go by and suddenly we have a second wind. Perhaps the kids we now have are old enough that they don’t suck every molecule of life out of us every minute of every day? Maybe we have recouped enough of our former selves to decide it is time to try for those regular girlfriend dates?
Wait, the kids are older but maybe they still need to be chauffeured around or badgered to complete those college applications? Our parents may choose this time to suddenly start exhibiting the clinginess of our former toddlers. They call A LOT. Even worse, maybe they get sick and require a ton of resources from us to get through. Throw a job and household to run on top of that and KABOOM. You can see how friendships can easily go awry.
So where do these girlfriend outings come in? Science states that our friends are vital to the state of our mental health and may even dictate how long we live. I do not need the added pressure of now feeling that if I don’t make the effort to schedule regular time with my peeps, I will die a premature, sickly death.
Give a girl a break! Who comes up with this shit anyway? I am bucking convention and seriously questioning the validity of this seedy logic.
In the past two months, I have tried to connect with three girlfriends for a variety of social gatherings including coffee, drinks, and lunch. All three attempts failed. Here’s what happened….
One friend was too crazed for lunch but suggested drinks and appetizers at a local spot. I made the date after much back and forth with our meet time and my refusal of her attempt to schedule me back to back with another appointment that same evening (this particular friend is famous for changing the time just before meeting). THIS IS NOT OK OUTSIDE OF A TRUE EMERGENCY. I refused to sit at the bar drinking alone, waiting indeterminably for her because she was “hung up” at the last minute. At this point in my life, it takes an act of God to get me to leave the house at night. I am a quintessential homebody and proud of it. If scheduling an evening date doesn’t prove that I value my girlfriends, I don’t know what does? I pushed and pushed until she agreed to schedule a night she didn’t already have something else planned. In the end, she canceled a week before our “date” because something came up that night that took priority.
Another girlfriend who is in the throes of starting her own furniture refinishing business is so totally overwhelmed with everything that comes along with it that she politely conveyed in an email that scheduling a date would have to be put on hold for now. I actually felt a sense of relief but extended an invite for a quick coffee anytime she needed a break. I also half jokingly suggested bringing a timer since we have been known to talk for hours and aren’t great about sticking to a schedule when in each other’s company.
The third friend blew me off entirely and after a couple of calls, one voice mail and one follow-up email, I decided enough was enough. I am not a stalker.
This brings me to my point. We need to redefine what these get-togethers actually mean and reassess their effect on our health and well-being. The effort does count but as my story illustrates, sometimes the effort is all you have. Have I chipped away at my health simply because these plans didn’t come to physical fruition? What is wrong with staying in touch via email, social media, a phone call, or even a quick text now and then?
The truth is there is nothing wrong with redefining the parameters of social contact in today’s busy world in ways that are mutually beneficial to all parties involved. Technology now offers us new and innovative ways of staying in touch and sometimes these are the only ways that work in our packed-to-the-minute lives. Let’s banish the guilt that comes with the good intentions to make plans that never seem to materialize. As long as we continue to make an effort to reach out, our relationships will prevail. Friendship is a choice between two people, not a statistical pie chart.
If you are one of the lucky ones who always manages to keep that monthly dinner or weekly lunch date with your treasured friends, consider yourselves blessed and have a drink for me, girlfriend.