The past few years I have been wondering what is making friendships so different as an adult than when I was a youth?
I have been categorizing people as “flaky” vs “reliable” for the last 10 years. Eek!! I became aware of this change when I moved to Arizona from Connecticut.
When I grew up, friends showed up. When you had plans you never wondered if they would actually happen. They did. Every time. Unless an emergency or sickness happened. People didn’t wait to see if something better came up. Though this was small town Montana, I also found this to be true in big city Connecticut as well. Then I moved to Arizona and it all changed.
Keoni actually had someone tell him once “I only hang out with you when there is nothing better going on” with the same emotion as if he was ordering a hot dog. As if that was a common and okay thought and statement to say.
And then recently I discovered Simon Sinek on YouTube and he talks about how this is common thinking for millennials. And I can see that and the way he explains it makes sense. People don’t know how to make deep forming relationships anymore. And they turn to their phones when they need to connect.
The thing is, it happens outside of the millennial generation. I see it in my generation and the one before mine. I think the only generation that would never think of ditching anyone is the Silent Generation. This is the generation before the baby boomers. They still believe that your word is in the only thing you have.
When did that change? That our words no longer mattered? That we no longer see the value in being reliable?
Yet we all yearn for deep satisfying relationships. How counter productive of us.
In a time when we are all wondering if we are enough, treating friends as if they aren’t, only magnifies that fear in ourselves.
See, no one in our lives should feel like they are on the back burner. If we value a relationship, we must let that person know through out actions. It kind of goes with that golden rule that has been tossed around for decades. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
How do we do that?
When we make plans. Keep them. Unless we can’t because we or our child is sick or something else bad happens. Not for FOMO. FOMO is never a reason for us to treat our friends like crap.
If something amazing comes up, ask them to join you. And let a conversation flow from there. And if for some reason you just don’t feel like going out, tell your friend. But do not ditch them to go do something else with someone else.
It’s like that rule I was taught when I would go country dancing. If a guy asks you to dance and you say no, you sit out that song. You don’t say yes to the more handsome guy that asks next. You wait until the next song to say yes.
Put The Damn Phone Down
If we want to build a meaningful relationship, build it with the person sitting in front of us. Put our phones down and give attention to the person who is giving us their time. In person. At that moment. They cannot get that time back. And our friends don’t want to sit there watching us on our phone. Text or browse the internet when we are by ourself.
Now there is always an exception to the rule. Keeping in mind exceptions are rare.
When We Mess Up… Apologize
This is such a toughy for people. Taking a little responsibility for hurting someone (and ditching a friend always hurts when they find out, and they usually find out thanks to social media) seems to almost be impossible now a days. We think saying sorry would add a spot light on our flaws.
Instead, denying our part in hurting someone magnifies our fear of not being enough. Owning up to being a poop head allows us to grow and do better in the future. It deepens our friendship. And adds a level of trust because we then can see that our friend is not as shallow as their behavior seems.
I invite us all to do better. To be a little bit more old school. More traditional when it comes to being reliable. Be the friend you would want.
Do you have a flaky friend? Tell us in the comments how you navigate that friendship.