I had an awesome Facetime date with my friend Keisha Breezy last night. KB lives in Toronto – in a different country on the other side of the continent. So needless to say, I don’t see her much. In fact, I’ve only ever seen her in person twice in the entirety of our 2 year friendship. We met at VSB’s Three Deez party in DC back in 2011, after having previously built a virtual friendship through VSB and Twitter. She’s one of a few faithful female VSB followers that I made through VSB, met in person at Three Deez, and have kept in touch with over the last couple of years. But like with KB, we all live in different cities and depend on the wonderful world of wifi, and 3/4G to stay in touch.
Living in different cities, from the inception of our friendship, has required us to put effort into maintaining some sort of communication, since we won’t ever just run into each other on the street or see each other at work/school. So to keep up with what’s going on in each other’s lives (in more detail that can be shared via social media), we schedule phone/Skype dates. And I mean literally scheduled and marked in our calendars – carving out time beforehand and putting priority in making the phone/Skype date. This has to be done, otherwise it’s always “Let’s talk soon!” or “We have to catch up some time!” – and soon or some time never comes!
And that is the state of my adult friendships – having to make time for my friends is something I have to make time for! KB and I talked about this last night when we spent almost 3 hours chatting, philosophizing, and ranting over Facetime while periodically breaking to adore and gush over her 8mo son. I had so much work to do last night, work that should have been completed last week, but I didn’t put this phone date (which had already been rescheduled from an earlier date) on the back burner. I need to be connected to my friends, in one way or another. They are important to me and I don’t want to be too busy for friends.
But it’s very difficult! I live 2-3 time zones from ALL but 2 of my closest friends. And I work late many nights, or have evening commitments – so by the time I’m home, most of my friends are asleep. Plus, most of us are professionals and have busy work schedules. Those of my friends who are in committed relationships and/or have kids, have the added busyness of family life to juggle as well. And many of us are involved in various organizations and sports, so there’s always something “extra” on our schedules. Adult life is busy and hectic. I can hardly find the time to get the sleep I need to do the work I’m responsible for, and now I have to make the effort to keep up with my friends too?!?! WHAT IS THIS GROWN UP LIFE ABOUT?!?!
When I was in school (just last year), it was easy to spend time and catch up with my friends (the ones in the same city, anyway). There wasn’t a week that went by that I didn’t have some interaction with one or more of them. Even at the craziest time of my life (writing my dissertation), I managed to be pretty connected to friends. I had people there when I needed them – be it a shoulder to lean on, an ear to complain in, or a hand to high five. It was really sad for me when friends started to graduate/get promoted and move away to another city, because it became much more of an effort to see or talk to them.
And now I’m the one who graduated and moved away for a job. Now I’m isolated from the rest of my friends. While I’ve made some friendly acquaintances since living in Portland, I still need and desire those other friendships. But tapping into them is so much more of a chore now. And I hate that it has to be this way. Adulthood is so whack! So many responsibilities!!!!! *shakes fist and wall slides*
I am, however, determined to make my friendships last. The people who I call “friends” are friends for a reason. And I just have to continue to make the effort to keep them healthy and meaningful.
Here’s what I currently do to keep myself in tune with friends:
- GroupMe chats: I have about 3 GroupMe chats that I use to keep in touch with friends. I try to pop into these at least once a day to say hi to my girls and see how they’re doing and/or share something interesting/weird/sad/hilarious happened. This is a great way for multiple people to be connected at once. So much better than individuals texts because the convos can be so dynamic and life-giving.
- Twitter & Facebook: I’m a social media addict so I love using social media for the way it was intended – to be connected to people. Especially people you don’t normally keep in touch with (i.e. high school classmates who you like but aren’t besties with). I love being able to have access to people that are far away, and be able to do so on my own time. There’s no pressure for me to be on Twitter/Facebook all the time or at certain times. Although there are certainly down sides to this form of communication, I enjoy it when I’m using it.
- Skype/Facetime: I hate talking on the phone. Having the phone to my ear irritates me. But I LOVE to use video technology to see and talk to people. It’s not something I do often, and I have to actually schedule the time to do it, but it’s fun and meaningful when I do do it. I wish I had more time for it but it’s probably my favorite way to spend a few hours catching up with some one.
I can’t be the only one who feels adulthood is trying to ruin my ability to keep friends. How do you keep up with your friends? Do you find it hard to make time to keep/catch up with people? Do you have friendships that have suffered as you’ve gotten older, perhaps do to time and/or distance?
Friends before… ends,