How to Keep Friends: A Social Experiment, Part I

What's wrong with a little social experimentation?

Blue And Red Flasks courtesy posterize/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

OK, I’ve talked about how little I know about this here, and here.

But here comes the social experiment part. I’m going to list five methods I’m going to try to reconnect with my existing community, and I’ll let you know how they go.

1. Facebook

I’ve talked about how exhausting it is to come home after staring at a computer screen for eight hours and feel like you have to look at another one just to contact, oh, anyone… but since I’ve actually managed to blog fairly regularly lately (yay, me!), I think I can manage a couple of hours per week of skulking into my friends personal lives to figure out what they’re up to. So my goal is to go onto Facebook at least once a week, and to not only creep their lives but to change a picture, update a status, poke someone to let them know that I am alive and reaching out.

2. Engaging Phone Conversations

I’ve talked about how I hate the phone, and I do. It’s very useful as a tool, but for contact, well, it’s a cold, plastic box.

So, my goal is to move beyond my hatred, and when people call me to engage them in interesting conversation, instead of my usual “OK, got the info, gotta go” routine.

This is actually really huge because it will force me to think about my day and come up with interesting things to say, instead of feeling like nobody’s interested because if they were, they’d already know what my day was. Which, bullsh*t. Really.

3. Organizing Outings

My hope is that eventually these will become more routine so that they take less organizing and so that others maybe think to invite me out once in awhile.

To start, at least once every two weeks I will go out, for supper or drinks, or to watch the band, with at least one of my friends, and in this instance, Dashing does not count (because I would go to the moon every day for that man, it’s embarrassing, really).

4. Holiday Cards

Nothing says reconnection like the annual catch-up of holiday cards. I’ve never done them on a large scale. This year, I will, to all and sundry. I’m talking researching mailing addresses, old-school letters enclosed, stamps and envelopes Holiday Cards. I should probably start in the next couple of weeks.

5. Downtime

For a lasting change, I can’t just do a complete 180 and hope it sticks, like I’ve done before. So if I need a night or two (or five) to myself, that is OK. If I miss calling someone back, that is OK. If three weeks go by and I haven’t gone out at all, that is OK, but I should start thinking about it soon at that point.

This part is the trickiest, because while it is important to take time to oneself, for a hermit like me, it can be oh so tempting to live there. But friendship is a two-way street and I have to have faith that once my friends know I want more time with them, that they’ll be happy to oblige. I have to give them the chance, and trust that they’ll come through for me.

Those are my five, for now. By no means is this a comprehensive list, but I think it’s a pretty good starter list.

What do you think? What would you add/take away? If I manage to achieve these goals, what should be on my next list?

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