• Keeping Friends

Resolving the Friendship Deficit: One Day at a Time

July 31, 2008 | By | 2 Replies Continue Reading

In 1935, the United States Congress proclaimed the first
Sunday in August as Friendship Day, which falls on August 3d this year. Put
simply: It’s a day to recognize the vital role that friendships play in our
lives. You can celebrate the day by getting together with a friend—or by
phoning, emailing or texting one who lives far away.

But even the clueless among us know that close friendships
aren’t made or celebrated on a single day. They’re nurtured by repeated
contacts over time when we share our real selves with others.

A landmark study published in the American Sociological
Review (June 2006) reported that the circle of close friends held by Americans
over the past two decades has shrunk markedly. During the same 20-year period,
the researchers found that the number of people who said that had no close
confidants at all had doubled.

So if Friendship Day is approaching and you feel like you
are experiencing a friendship deficit,
you aren’t alone. Here are some of the reasons why this happens:

1) Focusing on career
to the exclusion of friends
: You may be a high-achiever who has come to
find that it is very lonely at the top of your game.

2) Focusing on family
to the exclusion of friends
: You may be immersed (or drowning) in
caregiving responsibilities for young children, older parents, or be sandwiched
in between the two.

3) Forging
acquaintances rather than friendships:
You may be caught up in a social
whirl but never take the time to develop more meaningful relationships.

4) Thinking you
prefer the life of a hermit
: Given the opportunity, you may choose more
solitary pursuits and spend too much time alone.

5) Thinking that just
one is sufficient
: One friend may have satiated all your needs for friendship
but that one friendship may have disappeared, dealing you a terrible blow.

If you feel lonely and don’t have the number of quality of female
friendships you want, use the day to reclaim old friendships, nurture the ones
you have, and develop new ones, one day at a time. Need some inspiration? The
following ideas were emailed to me:

START A TRADITION

Two of my good friends, sorority sisters from the University of Toledo, celebrate our sorority
anniversary together every year, which was on December 4, 1994 at 4:50:19
AM. Each year we plan a series of activities to celebrate our friendship
over a few days. For the first 12 years, we literally were together in
the same room and set our alarms to wake up and wish each other a happy
anniversary. Recently, we decided to do anniversary trips. The first
year, I planned the trip and we went to NYC. We did a scavenger hunt, saw
a Broadway play, and more. This past year we did a trip to Martha’s Vineyard
and next year the plan is to take a trip together to Costa Rica.

From Dani Gibbs

GO ONLINE

My best friends are a group of
working mothers I met online when I was pregnant with my first son. These are
women that have been with me in the good times and bad from virtual baby
showers, to the death of my dad, others losing jobs, difficult births,
divorces, etc. They are women, although most I’ve not meet in person, whom I
would trust my life with. Each year, we have a reunion to get together to
celebrate our friendship. We are there to support each other each day on our
private message board.

From
Lois Whittaker

 

LEND A HAND

On last National Girlfriend’s Day,
I was recuperating on the couch between chemotherapy sessions, while my
girlfriends drove my kids to religion camp and cooked for me. My girlfriends
made it possible for me to take care of the business of getting healthy by
taking over running my house. My friend Susan organized the neighborhood
to cook for us three times a week. My friend Kim sent me a schedule every
Sunday night that showed which neighbors would drive my kids to camp, take them
home for playdates or get them to swim practice. I barely had the energy to
walk, let alone cart kids around town, so I really needed her help, too. Kim
and Susan are just two of the girlfriends who helped me through the roughest
time of my life.

From
Jen Singer

MAKE A DATE

I am a
mystery writer and the inspiration for my latest series of books — the Friday
Afternoon Club Mystery (Simon & Schuster) came from my own group of
friends. We’ve been getting together on Friday afternoons for about 17
years. And yes – we call ourselves the Friday Afternoon Club (FAC). We have no
agenda, no crafts or no service projects. It’s just a chance to chat with women
who have come to know and love me for who I really am. I count the friendship
of these women as one of the most precious blessings in my life.

From Cyndy Salzmann

BLAME IT ON THE KIDS

We are four mothers of sons who met
because our boys were in the same grade in elementary school on the same
baseball and basketball leagues and we wanted to socialize without the kids. We
created a Dinner with Friends night – every other month; one couple selected a
place and we’d all go out to eat. After the boys went their separate ways, we
continued the group, albeit less often. The women decided to celebrate
birthdays (ended up being 1once a season) and got together for lunch. It’s a
chance to connect (no matter how busy things get) and keep in touch (even when
life takes us in different directions).

From
Joni Daniels

BREAK BREAD

Fourteen years ago I was friendly
with two women. Between us we have six children in a seven-year age range.
While we met through a business network, we quickly discovered our mommy-connection
and decided to meet for lunch to share issues which we might find mutually
helpful in the rearing of our children. I’ll never forget the first lunch, and
maybe the second or third. The food arrived, conversation was lively and, well,
fluffy…..until maybe as the check was being paid, one of us would have the
nerve to mention something really juicy and challenging that was going on in
our lives as mothers. Hardly time left to discuss anything, we learned
gradually to trust each other and to open the lunch with the high agenda
points. I remember thinking "Thursdays just don’t come around often
enough."

From
Sally Landau

BAKE COOKIES

In 1993, Laura, Julie, Charlene and
I met at York University
in Toronto. We
were all living on the same floor and working at the same pub. As our
schooling progressed, so too did our friendship. In 1995 Colleen joined our
little sisterhood. Now, 15 years later, a few husbands, a few children,
several moves, and lots of long distance phone calls and visits, we make an
annual pilgrimage to Ontario
for “cookie baking weekend.” This weekend, usually the first one in
December, is 72 hours of shopping, prepping, baking, eating, and
packaging. We also add in lots of laughter, some tears, a few snarky
comments, plenty of hugs and kisses, some beer, wine or other mixology. These
four women have been my bedrock.

From
Gena Rotstein

I hope Friendship Day enriches your friendhips and helps reverse the deficit!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. “Girlfriends Forever!” is a set of 2 books. You fill out one and your girlfriend fills out the other. Then at a pre-arranged date, you switch books to read each other’s answers to the questions. There’s a scrapbook section in the back to add poems, stories, recipes, doodles, photos, anything at all. Keep alive and fresh the memory of a loved one, by reading and rereading the funny and telling comments from your “Girlfriend Forever!” See sample pages and order your set at the Website: http://www.NikDesignsGraphics.com

  2. Cyndy says:

    Thanks for the wonderful tips! Friendship is definitely worth the investment.

Leave a Reply