When I posted about my goals for 2017, I didn’t include deepening my friendships in the list of my 6 goals for the year, but I really wish that I had.
I alluded to my concerns with social media’s role in enabling me as a “lazy friend,” and talked about wanting to invest more in friendships with people who are living in Paris. I instituted a “call locally” rule for myself, which means that when I have good news or bad news, or just want a chat, I call someone who lives in Paris before I call anyone else.
It’s not a hard and fast rule – I certainly call my mother or my sister immediately in some situations, but by and large, I’ve noticed that it’s changed my behaviour.
First, I never used to call my local friends unless we were coordinating our imminent arrivals at a cafe or an apartment. I’d text, sure, and I’m in a couple lively, lengthy group chats, but I very rarely called anyone. Now, I regularly call my girlfriends in the evening and on the weekends, and it’s led to more hanging out, more eating lunch together, and more trips to the movies.
Second, it gives my international friendships a break. The distance and the different life circumstances can be a huge strain, and not all friendships withstand the test. I’ve been surprised by the friendships that weren’t able to make the leap, and by the ones that have flourished despite the distance.
Still, even when you’re in a period of flourishing, it’s nice to have a conversation about something other than the day-to-day. By catching up with my Paris-based friends about the day-to-day, I default more quickly to conversations about mutual interests or future plans with friends abroad. This has allowed several of these friendships to deepen even further, and I’m grateful for their strength and resilience!
Third, I’m more compassionate with my friends, and them with me. It shouldn’t be odd : when you focus more on giving of yourself and your time to your friends, they give back to you. It’s still surprised me just how kind everyone can be, and how much we value each other after a short time.
For example, a school friend met me for lunch today after we had a hugely stressful announcement from our program, and at the end of the lunch she pulled out a box of chamomile tea and a jar of honey that she’d brought for me to help me with my stress. I was (am!) so touched!!
After we parted ways and I went back to my office, hugging the tea and honey to my chest, I felt like I was glowing with loved I felt, and how much love I felt for my friends.
So, while it wasn’t a goal of 2017 to begin with, my life is infinitely lovelier after making a concentrated effort to connect more with my incredible, Paris-based friends. It’s only April, and I can’t wait to see what I can bring to these and other friendships as the year continues!