I had a friend call me last week. Like… on the phone. (I know, I was shocked too.) We hadn’t talked in a few months, so she used the device that I use for texting and TikTok AS AN ACTUAL PHONE. I was almost surprised to see her name at the top of my phone. My first thought was, “Something must be wrong!” I mean, who CALLS people?
She was reaching out wanted to check in. She had made a promise to herself to call a friend every day – and that particular, lucky day was my turn. We talked for an hour and I loved every minute of hearing her voice. (Shout out to my girl Cayla, castmate from The Amazing Race, for picking up the phone!)
Dropping The Ball
Why don’t I reach out to my friends more often? Why do I struggle to cultivate new friends?
I have a long list of excuses: Taxes are due, mortgage needs to be paid (any sort of financial document really), the kids have practices every day in different parts of the county, and oh yeah… maintaining a marriage too. I admit, the thing that gets dropped too frequently is time with my friends.
Whether you have friends you’ve known since you were out of the womb, or even last year in the carpool line, they require time and energy to maintain and foster. So with how busy we all are, how do we keep these relationships meaningful? (Sending memes or TikToks in a text is my preferred method of reaching out, but it’s not enough.)
I’m guilty of reading a text while in the middle of an activity then thinking, “I’ll respond when I have more time.” Newsflash: I never have time. If I’ve left you “on read” I sincerely apologize.
It’s Okay To Be Vulnerable
Recently, I spoke to author Amy Weinland Daughters about her book Dear Dana: That time I went crazy and wrote all 580 of my Facebook friends a handwritten letter. Daughters stumbled into the handwritten letter part of a project, but she said it allowed a freedom she hadn’t considered when writing a letter. “Knowing there isn’t going to be an immediate response allows you to be more vulnerable and focus more on what you’re trying to say.”
If writing a full-blown letter to an old friend makes you want to break out into hives, there’s another way to reach out. Daughters mentioned those “little nudges” you get in your daily life about your friends. I knew exactly what she was talking about. You could be doing the dishes or flipping through your phone and your mind gravitates to an old friend.
It doesn’t have to be as grand as writing a handwritten letter, just sending a text on what you appreciate about them. It’s only a few minutes of your life but “what you get back from that is even bigger than what you are going to provide.”
Take The Challenge
Daughters challenged me to grab some notecards from Target and write three people. “I think there’s so much hope in these connections that we’re missing out on. We’re so separated and divided right now and we have an opportunity not to fix it, but to heal some of this. There’s nothing more powerful than you reaching out to me, and me replying with nothing but goodwill on the line,” she explained.
As someone with anxiety, I can get in my own head. Daughters and her book have reminded me that it’s not about what you say…but just that you say it. So dear reader, reach out to ONE person today. Just one. Say what you like about them. Remind them of that one time you sang karaoke together until one in the morning in the late 90s. Or simply “I’m thinking of you.”
Our words have more power than you think.