In this month’s Real Simple, the article “5 Ways to Be a Better Friend” ends with advice from a nine-year-old: “Grown-ups should work harder on seeing their friends. . . .Adults have to make an effort to see each other, and sometimes they don’t do that enough.”
This is one smart kid. We often make a huge mistake regarding friendships as adults. We think that they should be low-maintenance, that it won’t matter if we don’t see people for months at a time. After all, everyone’s busy. We think that any friend will understand that we have to put our jobs, our families, etc. first. We promise we’ll get in touch next week or the next or the next. And suddenly, months have gone by.
And perhaps this attitude is one of the reasons why so many adults claim to be lonely. Friendships are like any other relationship; they have to be nurtured. Even when there are good reasons, no one likes to feel forgotten. Even the most patient of people will give up after months of neglect.
And we are the big losers. Friendships benefit us in a myriad of ways. Friends add joy to our lives:
- They share the chocolate brownie sundae that you shouldn’t eat but really want.
- They drop you off at the airport and pick you up again.
- They hold you when you’ve been dumped.
- They laugh at your bad Jane Austen jokes.
- They go to sappy movies and plays when your significant other refuses.
- They loan you money when your Starbucks card is out of cash.