I recently had a catch-up with one of my best friends who only lives about an hour away. As is always the case when we see each other, we pick up exactly where we left off, and as we’re saying goodbye, we reiterate that we’ll be better at keeping in touch this time. Soon after, we find that months have passed and we quickly realise that we’ve done little more than exchange a few text messages – cue the panicked message from one of us as we try to get our next catch-up in the diary. This pattern has been repeating for three years now and I doubt it’ll ever really change, but our last catch-up reminded me that it probably should!
As soon as we sat down and settled in for a lengthy chat over a glass of wine, we both started regaling each other with stories of how our Christmas and/or New Year was more than just a little sub-par. After I’d finished telling the tale of how my New Year’s Day was spent ‘ugly crying’, feeling emotionally exhausted, and wondering what on earth 2019 had in store for me after such a crappy few weeks, she explained that she wished she’d called because she had been feeling a little down too.
In the ‘Instagram world’ in which we find ourselves, it’s so easy to look at the lives of others and assume that everyone else is out there living their best life, while we’re curled up on our beds wondering what shitty thing life is going to throw at us next… but my friend’s comment brought to mind that we’re sometimes responsible for alienating ourselves.
On New Year’s Day, neither of us reached out and tried to talk to one another. It seems ridiculous because when we’re face-to-face, we don’t hesitate about sharing anything with each other and yet when there’s some distance there, we don’t want to feel like a nuisance and so we keep our feelings to ourselves, assuming the other won’t want to be bothered.
If one of us had reached out and told the other that their New Year hadn’t got off to the best start, how much would our day have changed? How would it have turned around if we’d had someone to talk to and listen? How beneficial would a conversation, some laughter and knowing that we’re not alone have been?
I know you know the answer, so with this in mind, which one of your friends could you reach out to today and ask how they are? Or, even better, do you have something going on in your life that you would share with a friend if they happened to call right now? If so, why not be the one to initiate the conversation?