broadsideblog

Making time for friendship

In aging, behavior, children, culture, domestic life, family, love, men, women on March 19, 2013 at 1:35 am

On Monday mornings, I sometimes go to a friend’s home and sit in her kitchen and we talk. She pours me a coffee, and cooks or putters or sits at the table with me.

How retro! So 1950s.

How lovely.

Temple of Friendship at 20, Rue Jacob

Temple of Friendship at 20, Rue Jacob (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re very lucky. We both work from from home and can carve out time for face-to-face friendship.

I think it’s as essential as exercise and sleep, this sitting with someone who knows and loves you, or is getting to know you and and you’re peeling back the onion layers of who they are as well.

Friendship takes time.

And it takes face time, not just emails and Facebook updates or texts. I want to feel a fierce hug, enjoy a shared smile, provoke a loud laugh.

I’m now scheduling face time with a friend into every week, determined to strengthen my relationships with the women I’ve recently gotten to know — after decades living in my suburban town with few intimates.

Paris Exposition: Champ de Mars and Eiffel Tow...

Paris Exposition: Champ de Mars and Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, 1900 (Photo credit: Brooklyn Museum)

In the past few weeks, I’ve had some great moments with friends old and new. An Irish woman I met in 1982 in Paris — I was 25, on a journalism fellowship there for eight months with her — was visiting New York to make  a radio documentary. Meeting up with her somewhat wrecked my work that day, but there was absolutely no question which was more important.

We picked up our conversation with the pleasure and intimacy of people who had seen each other a week before, when it might have been decades — we couldn’t remember. She looked amazing. We sat at the bar and ate hamburgers and it was sheer heaven to be with her again.

Because I never had kids, I lost my friends for a while when they were exhausted and spoken for, tending to the needs of their families. Now their nests are empty and they are hungrier for intimacy beyond their family circle.

Last week I sat with a new friend, who, like me, is trying to re-invent herself professionally. Being American, she’s sure that just a little effort will be enough. Being Canadian, I raise an eyebrow and ask: “Really?” She’s a helium balloon shooting for the ceiling, bursting with naive optimism and I’m the string, tugging her back to earth.

As soon as I sat down, she asked: “You look sad. What’s going on?”

You don’t get that from Facebook.

Do you make time to sit with your friends?

  1. I even played two games of Risk with a friend of mine Saturday night.

  2. Abso-effing-lutely. There is absolutely nothing that makes up for face-time. Nothing.

  3. I try to. Working parttime at home has helped immensely. I also have a few friends that I do regular video-chats with…it’s not as good as in-person, but many of us live far away from each other and it’s a way to meet face-to-face even if we’re not meeting in-person.

  4. I’ve struggled with making friends locally since moving to the UK. It’s has been difficult to meet people I have enough in common with to meet for coffee and share some of the things close friends do. I miss my long-term girlfriends in the US.

    • Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. I tried NH for 18 months and have never been so desperately lonely in my life. I couldn’t find anyone to talk to about anything. I hope this gets better for you!

  5. This is something we all could work on and improve. Your blog post motivated me to reach out and setup my own friend date.

  6. I have a few – very dear and well loved girlfriends -but they are scattered across the country. We talk on the phone, send cards and maybe see one another every year or so. I envy your having women close to you, would love to have a drop in coffee friend again. Living in such a rural isolated area – makes it more difficult. But still have friendly acquaintances to somewhat fill that need. And I am lucky beyond belief to have those few cherished girlfriends – no matter how far away! K

  7. I love catching up with friends and try to do it as much as possible. It is very easy to feel like you are involved in someones life when you are updated constantly on social media. But you are correct – there is no actual connection through this medium and the realness of a face-to-face meeting

  8. You’re absolutely right — nowadays it’s so tempting to just try to connect and follow up with people via social media since technology is such a daily part of our lives. And it seems as though technology is supposed to make our lives simpler and more efficient, sometimes it seems to have the opposite effect and we lose time to just sit down and have a cup of coffee.

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