Make Time for Friends (Pt 1)

wrap-computer

Booking under: Keith

“Make time for friends” is the subtitle for this chapter. I find this suggestion quite ironic as I always thought I would have no problem keeping up with friends. When I was younger, I loved nothing more than to hang out and have fun with my friends. How odd that as I got older, that seemed to become harder and harder to do.

Of course, work became a huge part of my life, but sometimes it can feel like a chore to organize a hang-out. And while it’s always good to see my friends again, our busy lives mean we all see each other less, and that can create situations where it’s a little more difficult to strike up meaningful conversations beyond “how’s work?”

With that in mind, I was quite happy to read Gretchen’s thoughts on how to make more time for friends. Here are my three takeaways:

1. Remember Birthdays

birthday-cake

I can organize a birthday dinner, but I probably won’t make a birthday cake… for their sake.

Much like Gretchen, I’m absolutely terrible at remembering birthdays. I can (thankfully) remember my own birthday, those of my immediate family, and a few other ones (Nicole’s, a few friends who share the same birthday or have birthdays that are easy to remember i.e. 7-11).

To help remedy this issue, and in an attempt to remember my friends’ birthdays, I will commit to organizing birthday dinners for my friends this year. I think this will be the perfect opportunity to get everyone together despite our busy schedules. And at the very least, there should be good food!

2. Be Generous

give-blueberries

Another way to be generous is to give… blueberries?

The second takeaway from Gretchen’s chapter is that we feel good by doing good. Gretchen offered a few ways we can feel better by being generous: help people think big, bring people together, contribute my way, and a few other items. Of all the items she listed, “contribute my way” really stood out to me. By definition, this is the one that is least specific and wouldn’t require me to act in a way that is unnatural to me.

As someone who enjoys reading and writing, an opportunity to “contribute my way” came when a friend of my mom recently approached me to edit a bunch of letters she processes at work. I was very happy to help her, and appreciated that this task did not require too much effort since reading and editing have always come quite naturally to me. Moving forward, I will continue to help her with her edits and similarly be on the lookout for ways I can help others using my strengths and interests.

3. Make Three New Friends

with-friends

Can’t spot me in this group of people? No worries… that’s because this is a stock photo!

This is Gretchen’s (rather formulaic) rule whenever she entered a new social setting. Although it’s worked out well for her, I’ve decided that I will take a more organic approach to it. In light of this, what better time to practice this than now, as we recently welcomed a new colleague at work!

To be honest, I haven’t had the chance to work directly with my new colleague yet, but I will be looking for ways to get to know him better. This will be quite a challenge for me as I never thought I would be so intentional with my interpersonal relationships. However, by doing so, I hope I can do my part to make his transition from another country smoother and boost my own happiness too. And the fun part is, I get to repeat this for the new hires who will be joining us in the coming months!

Summing Up

summary

No surprises here, just three new commitments for the month. They are:

  1. Remember Birthdays – organize birthday dinners for my friends
  2. Be Generous – contribute in my own way
  3. Make Three New Friends – get to know my new colleagues better

Check that with me in two weeks time to see how I do. But before that, make sure you tune in next week to see what Nicole has learnt about making time for friends. As she’s the primary event organizer for her core group of friends, I’m sure you’ll enjoy what she has to share. Until then!

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