Time and experience can tell you that you are definitely able to find yourself alone even in a crowd of people. A city can be just as lonely as the most isolated cabin on the most isolated mountaintop if you aren’t connected and known by people who matter to you.
So often we can assume a lack of effort on another’s part as rejection on ours, but perhaps it is time to consider that we hold the keys to our own happiness and connection.
“I always assume you’re busy.”
“Why did we ever fall out of touch?”
“We think about you all the time, we just assumed…”
Many of us are operating out of assumptions that stop of from reaching out.
We assume someone else is busy.
We assume we’re forgotten.
We assume people have better things going on.
All this assuming has left us tired and disconnected and so, whether we are busy or not, we want to make time to reach out. We want to make time to stay up-to-date with the lives of those who matter to us. We intend to make time for friendship.
You too? Here are some permissions you have when making time for friends:
- You can ask first.
The human hope to be desired is common for all of us. All of us hope to be remembered. All of us hope to be the most important guest at the party. Rather than let everyday feel like you’ve been rejected from whatever goings-on you haven’t heard about yet, you can be the first to reach out and create a hang out. You can ask someone to meet you for coffee. You can make the time by being the first to ask.
- You can volunteer an activity.
What do you like to do? It sounds like a basic question but it can be a struggle to think of go-to activities on the spot. So think! What do you like? What kind of activities make you anxious? Rather than avoid outings because they involve things you don’t like, come prepared with suggestions you will enjoy: a coffee shop, rock climbing, cooking dinner at home, a stroll through a bookstore you’ve been wanting to check out!
- You can follow up.
Don’t sweat it if it takes a minute to schedule time with your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) people. Lives and schedules are hectic and this is more about YOU making space for friendship. If you have to reach out a second or third time to get all the details squared away, it’s okay. If you need to try scheduling time with multiple people, go ahead and get started. Some may be more difficult to get on the calendar than others. Know that you can set the pace for how you’d like to be treated in friendship by reaching out kindly.
All of this can seem very basic. Most of it involves skills we learned in kindergarten but we forget that being friends is a thing that can make everyone nervous. It can feel very vulnerable and so we can make those attempts clunky and awkward as a result. It’s okay. Breathe. Recall that time when everyone in the room was 6 years old and go make some time for friendship.