Would you agree it is challenging to maintain lifelong friendships with women today? Making friends was simpler when we were children because we didn’t have any responsibilities to carry and insecurities to hide.
When we became adults, our priorities changed. If you are married with children, your new family came first. We love our families, but we need to keep our sanity, too. We need our friends again to navigate our so-called life.
Reach out Often
Social media has a way of giving us a bird’s-eye-view of our friends’ lives. They post happy family photos and we approve by liking or loving their post. Then, we hurry on again with life.
In our haste to get on with our lives, did we ever stop to look around? When was the last time y you checked in on your friend? How has she been coping with the pandemic?
You don’t have to get all chatty at once. Start with a text message asking how she is, or that you remembered her today. Don’t forget to greet her on her birthday or wedding anniversary. If you are on Facebook, you get alerts on your friends’ birthdays.
Show concern without appearing too nosy. We need to respect other people’s boundaries. A genuine friend will understand that and that’s how to maintain lifelong friendships. Keep the connection strong.
Schedule (online) meetups
We are all exhausted by this lockdown. It’s been a year and we are worse than when we started. So we hold off having lunch or coffee with our girlfriends because it is not safe. Thanks to Zoom and other video conferencing platforms, we can still keep in touch with our dear friends. We can connect with anytime if we want to.
Set up an online get together with a few of your closest friends. Respect each other’s season in life and consider everyone’s schedule. What’s so great about online meeting with friends is the absence of formalities. Unlike work or bible study meetings, online meeting with friends can be fun. You can even have coffee or lunch together. Remember to keep the connection both online and offline.
How to maintain lifelong friendships? Make time.
Appreciate their gesture
Let’s admit it. There are days our schedules are impossible to deal with and we forget to respond to a friend’s call or text message. Some days we get back at them after 3 days or not get back at all. They are our friends, they will understand. If we forget, the least we could do is respond even after a week of unintentionally seen zoning them.
Thank them too for the times they prayed for you and showed concern. Appreciate their support for your cause or business. Have an attitude of gratitude to maintain friendships. Celebrate her wins and comfort her pain.
Forgive each other’s faults
Colossians 3:13 tells us to
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.“
In any hurting relationship, we can either be the victim or the offender. When we were children, it was easy to patch up with friends when we hurt each other. We keep quiet for a while. A few minutes later, we will play again. Maintaining adult friendships costs us our pride because we have to forgive or ask for forgiveness.
I know what’s like to be the victim and the offender. When you are the hurt party, you can choose to withhold forgiveness or not. I have forgiven some people who hurt me, but we don’t have a connection anymore. I learned that forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation.
Just Show Up
My friendship with my high school best friend stood the test of time. We went to different schools in college and gained new friends, but we kept the friendship through letter-writing. I made sure I was present on all her birthdays. Sometimes I’d feel awkward because she had other friends, but her mom and older sister made me feel welcome. My BFF showed her appreciation every time I drop by to celebrate her birthday.
When she got married, I was there. She lived a new life with her family and settled in the US. She is a nurse and works long hours. So we lost touch for a while but reunited again thanks to the Internet. When I told her I was getting married in 2002, she made sure she would be in Manila for my wedding. I was so happy to have her as my Matron of Honor.
Like any balikbayan, my BFF meets her family and friends when she is in Manila. Despite her brief vacation, she always sets aside time to meet me. And I appreciate this a lot, so I adjust my schedule for her too.
The older we get, the smaller our meaningful connections are. We accept that not everyone we meet stays in our lives forever. Some will go and others will stay. We keep those who stayed close to our hearts. Carlin Flora, the author of Friendfluence: The Surprising Way Friends Make Us Who We Are, says,
“If you can find the time to binge-watch TV shows and check Facebook a million times a day, you can make time for your friends.”
Whats’s the longest friendship you have today? How do you maintain lifelong friendships?