Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

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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Housewarming

Housewarming/Heartwarming

Love Heart And Nest courtesy renjith krishnan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I went to my cousin’s housewarming party this weekend. It was fabulous. Naturally the family all showed up early, so we were hanging out in her new digs when her friends arrived.

It’s so funny being in the middle of all that action. Watching my cousin and her boyfriend creating a new chapter in their lives, seeing them surrounded by friends and family, those who have gone before and those who may follow in their footsteps.

Their house is huge, and it’s a great starter home, with great bones and good updates. It’s right in the middle between their respective places of work, and they’ve filled it out nicely with a mix of new and hand-me-down furniture.

It was amazing watching them juggle the colliding spheres of their communities. Family, friends, his family, her family, cats, and each other.

Then of course the uncles and aunts started in on the poor lad, pressuring him to propose  – “Oh, I guess it won’t be long now” and “Well, you’ve made this commitment, surely you’ll go all the way…” and flat out “So are you planning to propose??”

They’ve just gotten successfully over one hurdle, and everyone is all ready to throw another in their path… as if they can’t truly be part of the community, part of the family without that slip of paper and some rings.

I know people think it’s harmless, just teasing, and most of them are probably just saying it to have something to say, but we were there to celebrate the home-owning-ness.

Still, familial expectations aside, it was fun, and I hope they both enjoyed it. There were snacks and pumpkin carving (because nothing says awesome like tipsy relatives wielding paring knives!) and chatter and nostalgia and hope for the future.

And I guess that’s where all the pressurized teasing comes from. Hope for the solidification and legalization of relationships. Hope for the family structure and babies and all those things that they want to happen after a wedding.

It just seems a little rude to rush them from one life changing event to another.

But that’s family, right?

Which means, even without the rings and the paper, without the officiant or the money, even without the vows and witnesses, they view him as part of the family.

Heartwarming.

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