Today’s writer is one of my favorites – actually, she’s The BFF, so she’s hands down a super-duper favorite. We ALL THE TIME talk about community and friendship, and what it means for a couple of extroverts like ourselves to embrace the present and move on. Enjoy her words, friends…
What is so scary about having someone—inadvertently—communicate that they don’t have time for you? Why do I take that personally or somehow presume that it has anything to do with my character?
Here’s the thing: when people are too busy or can’t make a regular commitment or never return your calls; it doesn’t mean that you’ve done something wrong or that you’re personally flawed. It’s not you. They are busy. They have other friends. They might be going through hell right now and you have no idea.
It wasn’t until I moved to the Southern metropolis of Nashville that I really began to see that sometimes it’s okay for people to say, “We’d love to have you over for dinner,” and not really have any intention of following through with it. In my 20s, this would have killed me. Now, in my 30s, I realize that when someone says that, they’re really saying something more like, “You seem nice; someday I hope we might get to know each other more.”
How, how, how then do we build real community? Right now. With the people that want it.
Do a quick check of who returns your calls/emails/texts or–here is a profound thought–who proactively calls/emails/texts you. It won’t be very many people, I promise. This is not the same list of people who “like” all your photos on Facebook. This isn’t the same list of people who attended your wedding. This isn’t the same list of people that are in your small group or book club. This is like four or five people max; you like them; they like you.
Make the list. Figure out the next time you can connect with them, whether it be phone, note, face-to-face time, etc. Do it. If it’s fun and encouraging and both parties have a good time, repeat. If you find that someone isn’t making any effort in return, don’t continue to reach out. Make time for the people with whom community and support and friendship are a two-way street. The others–those one-way folks–will leave you feeling sad, a little empty and possibly used.
I have a few of these now; these people that are in my community on whom I can lean. They are not glamorous. They have issues. Sometimes they have to reschedule. But, they love me. They love my husband and my child. They make time for me. They send me notes to check in and see how I’m doing without first being prompted by me. They don’t make me feel like I have to work at the relationship. It’s just natural. And we laugh! And freak out! And text funny jokes!
And there are only a few of them.
Truthfully, I want Mindy to go on. I want to keep reading her thoughts – but that, I suppose, is the irony of the conversation and the topic of community altogether: sometimes that’s it. It’s over and done with, so accept it and move on. What about you? What do you think about what she just had to say? Leave a comment for our friend here!