Are We Too Busy For Friendship Now? 

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Last week, one of my bestie’s, Shan and I, hit Red Emma’s. It’s the first time we have really hung out alone (she’s usually over to the house with me, Kes and Nai).

As I took in her delightful energy, my heart overflowing with joy, I noticed in this crowded coffee house, half the folks  were staring at laptops, many while with friends. And this blog post title popped into my head: Are we too busy for friendship now?

Let’s face it. Many of us are overcommitted and exhausted. Friendship takes work and it’s easier to scroll someone’s FB, Twitter or IG feed, send intermittant text messages, and pat ourselves on the back for staying in touch. But is this friendship, or social obligation?

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

– Henri J.M. Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

As we grow older – the life partner comes, our babies, career, etc. – and it becomes tougher to maintain friendships or cultivate new ones; yet I find authentic connection with another person to be utterly divine. It nourishes my soul, opens me up to novel ways of seeing the world.

The other day, I called a  good friend. We usually text or email, but I yearned to hear her voice, contagious laughter and imagine her smile as she spoke. So I picked up the phone and dialed. Funny how what is old becomes new again, huh?

I could hear the surprise in her voice as she gently joked about the rarity of my calls (being a Mama of little one can create some distance in your friendships). Still, after sitting with the depth of those words for a few days, I began wonder if collectively, we have allowed the noise of this world to overtake genuine friendship, and the beauty of human interaction. If we text or email frequently, can we also commit to a call or lunch? Are settling for becoming  acquaintances instead of cultivating authentic relationships?

Earlier this week I talked with an old college friend. She reminded me about us getting together; one of her friends had passed away of a heart attack before they were able to reconnect. None of us knows how long we have I thought as she lamented his passing, partially still in shock.

Making the effort to momentarily climb up from the dizzying lists of growing tasks in our own world is difficult, and at times, spending an afternoon with a friend feels luxurious, but the reality is it is not.

You and I need one another, beyond status updates and stunning Instagram feeds. We are created for fellowship and community. Do something for #tbt today – have a conversation with a friend, make plans to meet up in person, and then turn  off your laptops, iPads and phones. Rediscover each other in those quiet spaces.

Emelda De Coteau
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