Life is not going to slow down for any of us any time soon.
I found myself speaking with a friend recently when a familiar phrase entered our conversation.
“When things slow down, we’ll need to grab lunch and catch up,” I said.
Most of us do not need to rewind too far back to when we found this phrase fluttering into a conversation like a placeholder to one day return.
But life does not slow down. And most times our well-intended words invisibly erode as the rushing current of life races around us.
The truth is, each of us would like more time. The reality is, however, this isn’t going to happen. The creation of time is nothing more than us making decisions about what we value and how to spend the finite amount of time on hand.
Friendships are a result of an investment. Granted, we will occasionally meet someone we share interests with, thus allowing for a common platform to share ideas or simply grab a ballgame together. But most times, these are more akin to a loose network of individuals who, due to no fault of either, are mere surface scratches in a world of relationship building.
A true friendship, however, is deep and filled with shared emotions. Beyond the common interests are tears, laughter and deeply personal experiences that begin and end within the private boundaries of two people. Each is the result of investing time and emotional currency into an intimate capsule of experiences — resulting in a truly unique bond.
Today the word friendship seems to be finding itself diluted into a former shell of itself. We “friend” people on Facebook, we “connect” on LinkedIn, or we carelessly extend the term to people we don’t even know the name of their spouse or children. Additionally, our shared experiences can be as shallow as someone we served on a committee with or met in passing over lunch.
My millennial daughter summed it up best one day when talking about “unfriending” someone from her Facebook account.
“Its not like they are a real friend, she said. “They’re a Facebook friend.”
I thought about the distinction her generation assigns — making friends is as easy as simply clicking the “accept” button on screen. Easy come and easy go. The time investment in a modern friendship can many times be measured in nanoseconds.
True friendship takes time — and lots of it. During the arc of any friendship, two people are making time for each other. Granted as we age, this becomes more complicated and difficult. But the formula is still the same. Time plus genuine concern for another is not only the foundation for starting a friendship, but also an investment you must keep alive.
I owe my friend lunch. Like you, we are busy people. If allowed to, our calendars will passively fill in any available time. But friendship, and the effort to keep it alive, takes work. Don’t let time lead to your “unfriending.”