25 Jul JUNE – Check in on friends
Check in on friends
My May resolution to connect with friends was a success. I had regenerated and fostered connections with my close knit circle and was feeling so happy! Where I was falling short, was remembering what was happening in the lives of all my friends! I wanted to be that friend who sent the text wishing them luck or called to see how an event or important date went. I came to this realisation after I remembered to message my friend Ellen one morning in May. She was concerned about something at work. I recall how pleased she had been that I took the time to wish her well. I made it a resolution this month to know a little more about what was going on with my friends. The only problem is… I have a shocking memory!!! I have always known this, which is why I keep a dedicated list of things to do, constantly email myself reminders and set alarms in my phone! To keep on top of this and to review data (I really love data).
Sometimes we need friends to be there. Not to fix anything, or do anything in particular, but just to let us feel that we are cared for, loved and supported. I am so committed to being a friend who offers support, is a caring voice on the other end of the line and who knows what all her friends are up to. In order to keep track of all my friends and what they were up to, I created a grid like recording sheet. This recording sheet allowed me to track who I had spoken to, when we had spoken and as what they had told me they had been up to or had coming up. Within this folder was a calendar for the month of June. I noted key dates on this, to assist me in checking in with people. I found that by looking at my notes, I could keep track of what everyone was doing! Although on the flip side, it was an arduous task to keep up with. Remember my shocking memory?? Well, I struggled to remember to fill out my tracking sheet! But, when I did, it was so useful. I had prompts and dates before my very eyes!!! Even when I forgot to fill it out or it wasn’t close by, it was worthwhile as many times I had to sit down and think about my friends and remember what was happening for them! This was better than simply forgetting most things! When I couldn’t remember a key date, I used this opportunity to get in contact with my friends again to ask. Win-win really!
I love a juicy conversation with a friend. By ‘juicy,’ I don’t mean gossip. I mean chats where you feed off each other, where you vibe, where you both have ‘ah-ha’ moments and feel like you are solving problems. To ensure this, I continued to focus on my conversational skills learned in May. I wanted to evolve my commandments to ask meaningful questions and listened attentively. The only way to do this, was through practise! While I checked in with friends, I posed surround about what they had coming up, how they were feeling and why etc. I loved having this skill because I learnt so much about each and every one of them and I relished in my ability to promote them to solve their own problems or come to their own realisations.
The most memorable friends in your life, are those who still love you, even when you consider yourself ‘unlovable.’ The prompt to touch base with friends paid off when I spoke to my friend Clare on my way to work one morning. I sent a text, to simply check in and she responded that she wasn’t so good. She was in the middle of an anxiety ridden bus ride, panicking about an upcoming exam. I called her shortly after hearing her distress and we talked through the issue. Upon hanging up, she texted me and said “Thanks for chatting Rang Rang” (her nickname for me – think orangutans, in red headed), “you must be my guardian angel because I was sitting here not concentrating on what I was reading because of my anxiety!” It was moments like this that made me so unbelievably happy that the weird note taking was worth it! When checking in with my friend Amy who lived in another state, she responded with what she was up to and closed the message with, “thanks for checking in and being a good friend.” It made me happy that they were happy. It made me happy that I was a good friend.
All in all the month was a success. I was regularly checking in with the majority of my friends. I remembered what they were up to. My grid was prompting me to revisit past conversations and remember key dates and events. I felt like I was improving my friendship ability. Albeit that the grid was an excellent prompt, I often didn’t have it with me and it was a lot of work. I loved the calendar! If I wasn’t close to my grid and calendar I noted key dates in my phone or emailed myself and added them later. I brainstormed more efficient ways to note these things and decided that using my work diary would be the best option. I carried that diary with me everywhere. It contains my daily plans, reminders and to-do lists. By using the calendar within this, I wasn’t required to have so many books and folders. Lucky for me, the calendar page had a notes section, here I could record anything I wanted to remember. I would move forward and adopt this method of tracking the goings on of my fabulous friends.
Being an insanely good friend is important to me. I desire it and I am chasing it. It’s true that – one smile can start a friendship. One word can end a fight. One look can save a relationship. One friend can change your life.
I am determined to be that friend…