I love the vintage Beatles song, “I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends” because it reminds me that I can’t survive without mine. Friends laugh and cry with you. They keep you from losing your mind. Friends celebrate your victories, and listen when you rant about your problems.
Recently I had lunch with one of my oldest and “best-est” friends. We went to a Turkish restaurant in a remodeled old home and sat in the shade on the lovely patio, ate yummy vegetables and talked non-stop. We laughed over each other’s funny stories, and shared a few heartaches. We ended with Turkish coffee and a mad dash for the car.
Our lunch was a mini-vacation. When I drove back home to regular responsibilities, my heart was lighter, and my step had more spring.
God made us with a need for relationship, but maintaining friendships in our ever mobile, productivity-oriented world isn’t easy. Our schedules get busy. Friends move away. One obvious key to maintaining long term relationships is the simple investment of time.
Another key to long term friendship is flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. For instance, my lunch friend and I have been close for years, but life changes have affected how and when we get together. When my kids were younger, she flexed around my schedule; now that my kids are older and she’s newly married, I flex more around hers.
Here are different kinds of friends I’ve had:
During our family’s toddler years, my friends were fellow moms I hung out with at the park. Talking over a jungle gym was easier than trying to sit down at a coffee shop. Knowing other women going through the same crazy experiences with little people helped me to keep my head above water.
One of my life-long friends is a former roommate. We hardly see each other since I’ve lived outside of the US for 20 years. We don’t really “do” long distance, but every time I visit Austin, Texas, we pick up right where we left off and spend as much time together as we can. Being with an old friend can be like sliding on an old pair of jeans. Comfortable.
When a neighbor and fellow home schooling mother moved to the other side of town 5 years ago, we kept up our friendship by telephone. Most weeks we have a long phone chat and amazingly have grown closer after she moved.
Long Distance Mentor:
One of my go-to people is a vibrant 74 year old Tennessee belle living in Texas. We talk on the phone monthly. I know I can share anything by e-mail, and she responds quickly. She gives me great advice, and provides a model for what I hope I am like in 25 years.
Modern life makes it easy to lose touch with people, but over time, consistent, simple efforts, like phone calls, letters, or lunches together, add up to rewarding friendships.
How do you manage to make time for your friends, and what do you like to do with them? Do you know anyone who might be encouraged by a phone call today?