“Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones?”
—Jenny Anderson, “The only metric of success that really matters is the one we ignore.” Quartz. March 12, 2019.
Probably better to not ask the question at all than believe the answer to it is, “No.”
- I am subject to old age.
- I am subject to illness.
- I am subject to death.
- I must be parted and separated from everyone and everything dear and agreeable to me.
- I am the owner of my karma.
“1) Don’t be chill when it comes to making friends. Tell people you like or respect or value that they’re great and you want to hang out with them. If they signal that they’re not interested, that’s fine — but don’t miss the opportunity to get to know someone wonderful just because you don’t want to appear overly eager.
2) Be personal. Talk about your real problems, and ask people about theirs. Invite someone into your home instead of going to a bar or coffee shop. Give thoughtful gifts. A big part of friendship is understanding someone for who they are and having them understand you for who you are, and that’s not possible without some degree of vulnerability.
3) Get comfortable saying no to people you don’t want to prioritize. That sounds harsh, but in the end, it will save your time and effort and theirs. It’s not a kindness to “perform” friendship without genuine support and commitment, and both of you have limited time to spend. Instead of saying you’ll grab lunch and then canceling yet again, you can just part ways and make friends who are better suited to each of you.
4) Remember to reciprocate. If your friend is always the initiator, invite them to do something with you. If you do have to cancel on someone — sometimes circumstances happen — you should be the one to make a plan for the future. And then make sure that it happens.
5) Show up for people who matter to you. Sometimes that means your physical presence; sometimes that just means your emotional support. There will always be reasons to not be there, but if you keep choosing other commitments over a friendship, that’s a signal to that person. Friendships aren’t static. They require work from both people.
—Jackie Luo. “If you’re wondering why you’ve lost friends in adulthood, this is probably why.” Vox. August 16, 2018.
“‘Your available social time is limited, and you can either spend it face to face or on the internet,” Dr. Dunbar said. If it’s spent with people who are ‘remote,’ whether geographically or just because they’re represented digitally, ‘you don’t have time to invest in new relationships where you are.’
People from our past that we no longer directly communicate with but who are active on social networks can ‘colonize valuable space in your mind, and you think about them instead of about your close friends,’ said Carlin Flora, the author of ‘Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are.'”
—Teddy Wayne, “Are My Friends Really My Friends?” The New York Times. May 12, 2018.
Reminds me of 10 Types of Odd Friendships You’re a Probably Part Of, which suggests that social media isn’t the origin but rather amplifies an existing issue and adds complexity to it. Cardboard bridges don’t carry heavy loads.
“She leaned in. ‘Do you believe in the theory of visitors?’ She said this conspiratorially, as if she was sharing with me a secret.
‘What’s that?’ I asked.
‘All relationships are transient,’ she said. ‘Friends who stab you in the back. People you network with at a fancy party. Relatives who die. The love of your life. Everything is temporary. People come into your life for a limited amount of time, and then they go away. So you welcome their arrival, and you surrender to their departure. Because they are all visitors. And when the visitors go home, they might take something from you. Something that you can’t ever get back. And that part sucks. But visitors always leave souvenirs. And you get to keep those forever.'”
—Sam Lansky, “The Theory of Visitors.” Medium.com. November 10, 2017.
Enjoyed the whole essay. It invites us to consider that the theory of visitors and the looking for the next swipe right encounter might be preventing us from interacting more deeply with people. Engaging with the projected personas that are reflected in the digital medium that can only be maintained at short intervals or at a distance, we make quick judgments about complicated, multi-faceted human beings. Perhaps everyone is a visitor, but the key point may be that relationships (at least some of them) are worth investing time in, irrespective of their duration.