I am very fortunate to have a wide range and relatively large number of people whom I call friends. School friends, uni friends, ex-flatmate friends, London friends, work friends, ex-work friends, friends of friends who are now friends. And they are all awesome – else they wouldn’t still be friends, obviously 😉 But what I have found challenging as we get into middleI(ish) age and people have the demands of work, family and extra-mural activities to juggle is how to keep friend batteries charged.
Some of my friends I see daily, some occasionally but I communicate with daily, some I see hardly at all due to them living overseas or in other parts of New Zealand. But you can tell the really good friends – they are the ones who, even if you haven’t seen them in over a year, you can easily drop straight back into conversation with like no time has passed at all. Those ones are the keepers.
But friendships like this still don’t maintain themselves – a bit of effort is required. I was reminded of this when in Hawaii recently (did I mention I went to Hawaii recently? Oh, I didn’t? Oh well, I did, it was awesome and YES you should be jealous ;-)). I went with three friends – one who I see all the time, one who I communicate with daily but see less frequently, and one who lives in Canada so I see rarely. But they all fall into this category of permanent and easy friends. Even so though, 10 days away together, when we had no family demands, no work stress and no other pressures on us was SUCH a great way to recharge the friend batteries. To take away all the other stuff and drill down to the basics of why we are such good friends. (And why is it? Good question – I think it has something to do with shared goofiness and ability to take the mickey out of each other with absolutely no malice whatsoever ;-)) I returned home feeling not just recharged personally but feeling like my friend batteries were at 100%, which was a simply wonderful feeling.
Obviously though a trip to Hawaii with each of my friends each year isn’t really a valid option. But recharges don’t need to be so intensive. Some quality time over dinner, on a walk or just on a shopping trip can be all that is needed to do the job. Really it is about catching up on all the key things going on in each others lives – and not just the stuff on the surface but drilling down below that. Yep, we girls do love the deep and meaningfuls – and sometimes it is great to share this stuff. It can help you think about things you have been chucking around your own head for a while in a completely different way – and to get completely novel perspectives. It really is invaluable.
I sometimes get grief for organising events for ‘just the girls’. As a single girl I find it nice to have catch ups now and then with just my girlfriends. I am very fortunate again in that I really like all of my friends other halves – so it isn’t a matter of getting rid of people who annoy me – far from it – I really love hanging out with the wider groups of friends that marriages, partnerships and offspring have created. But sometimes it really is nice to have some girl time. In the same way as guys like to catch up for a few ‘quiets’ now and then – believe it or not they are recharging their friend batteries too, even if they would never admit to it! And I think I would still want the quality girl time once (she says optimistically) I meet Mr Right. I have spent so much time being Single Jess that something tells me I will need quite a bit of time out! And time to recharge those batteries. I have yet to have one of my quality friendships fall away through lack of battery charging – and I don’t intend to let that happen. So, it may not be ten days in Hawaii – but make the most of your quality time with your friends – you will never ever every regret it.