Lets Talk Friendships + Why They Matter
written by Jess Mally
I just finished watching the movie Girls Trip on Netflix and I couldn’t help but walk away inspired.
I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to watch the movie yet, but we here at Season7 absolutely love it and when it came out on Netflix it was a no brainer that we’d re-watch it as many times as we could. Girls Trip is one of those feel-good, cover all bases movies that will make you laugh (like belly-laugh), cry, celebrate culture and long to be with those close friends you’ve not seen in a while. And that’s exactly what made me think about this week’s topic.
When I started researching, inspired by our point about the importance of intentionally spending time with friends, no matter the weather, last week (check out last weeks’ post here), I came across some shocking stats:
I found out that 86% of millennials suffer from loneliness and depression caused by it.
Somehow that shocked me. How is it possible that in an age where we have more tools to connect than ever before, we also have more people feel lonely and isolated?
When I went to dig a little deeper, I found that it is in fact our ‘uber-connectedness’ (yes, I just invented that word) that causes this new epidemic (read more here). Whilst this in no way means that social media and all the various ways in which we have learnt to communicate are in themselves bad, it does show, that all these mediums do not replace the one thing we all crave: genuine, authentic connection.
We used this quote last week:
“We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” (Brenee Brown)
Seems like the stats are supporting this statement…
Anyway, back to ‘Girls Trip’. What I loved most about the movie is the friendship we see among the four main characters: there you have four friends who have shared much of life’s journey together and who are still the people who make them feel safest, and most free to be themselves around. Yet, they have somehow lost touch over the years. They got busy with their lives: One a successful author, busy traveling the world and keeping up appearances, the other making her money online telling stories about other peoples lives and never able to switch off – everything has to be documented…the list goes on.
I couldn’t help but wonder, how much time and energy we often waste on so called ‘social’ connections online, or networking for the sake of getting somewhere in our career or…well you get the picture… instead of actually investing in and prioritising the people we love.
So that’s what our wellness Wednesday challenge is about this week: investing in our friendships so we would all be a little healthier in ourselves.
We have come up with 5 things we can all do right now, without much effort, to truly connect – or reconnect - with the people who mean the most to us and maybe, just maybe, switch off some of those online tools in order to switch on the true connections we so long for.
When was the last time we sat down and thought about the people in our lives? Like really reflected on and processed our relationships? We have found that taking stock, being grateful for the loved ones we have and maybe even rethink some of the less healthy relationships, can be an incredibly healthy thing to do. Who are the people we feel most ourselves around? Who are the ones fiercely loyal and in it for more than just what they can get from us? They are the ones to keep close and keep in mind in our next four points.
One thing that struck me about ‘Girls Trip’, is that the time they get together in the movie, is the first time in a very long time. Like I said before, they all had their own lives, ups and downs, marriages, children, jobs etc. and, as happens so often, they lost touch.
However, when the opportunity came for the main character to leverage her own success and get her crew back together, she didn’t hesitate. Now we realize that most of us won’t be able to take our friends on a spontaneous trip to New Orleans, but there are other things we can do to appreciate the people in our lives who have been there all along. We can check in, call on our lunch break, send that text we’ve been meaning to send, spend a little extra cash to send a gift or drop by with a meal if life has been hectic for the people we love. It’s not about the size of the gesture, but we all know how much it means to receive that little something every now and then, whatever it may be.
3. Make time
We are all busy. That’s a fact we know all too well here at Season7. And yet, I heard someone say once, that our schedules reflect our priorities and point to the future we seek to create for ourselves. What story does your diary tell about your tomorrow?
We seem to have time for all the work things, events, shows, networking dinners and all sorts and yet we struggle to find time to facetime our best friend. Making time for these things is incredibly important as all trust and relationship grows and comes with exactly that: Time.
4. Be present
Having said that, sometimes making time alone isn’t enough. So many of us ‘hang’ with people all the time. We go for dinners, to parties, exhibitions, shows, you name it; but if you look just a little bit closer, the truth is most of these things can often be no more than a bunch of individuals taking selfies, posting on Instagram and checking the latest news, likes, whatever the thing is we do. The truth is, most of us do it, because we’re scared to just sit there and look like we have nothing to do.
So what if we switched off a little more often? What if we put our phones on silent – or dare we suggest, flight mode?! – the next time we have dinner with someone we care about? Uninterrupted time can be the most precious gift we give each other. Try it – you’ll soon find your conversations go deeper and your connections become more authentic. Switch off to switch on genuine connection.
5. Be that friend
Some of you may have come this far in the article and kept thinking ‘That’s all cool, but I don’t have those people in my life.’ We get that. Many of us might be in that place, and that’s okay. We all know how moving to another city, another country, life’s challenges and all that can cause our friendship wells to run dry. It doesn’t have to stay like that. We all need people and community, we’ve established that, and it’s never too late to forge new friendships and relationships. One thing we’ve learnt and many wisdom traditions of the past confirm, is that in order to HAVE the kind of friends we are talking about, we have to be them. So maybe that can be the challenge for some of us this week: Are we the loyal, kind, caring friend we hope to have? Can we stop for long enough to listen to someone without interrupting, judging or forcing our opinion on someone? Can we actually keep the things secret we’ve been asked not to share? Can we apologize when we’ve wronged someone? We know all these things sound super basic, but it’s surprising how many of us have lost the simple art of being a good friend. We can’t help but think, that if we all decided to strive for this, we might just find it a little bit easier to make those authentic connections we all crave so deeply.
So there they are, our lessons from Girls Trip. Not the slick and academic article I was hoping to write, but somehow I feel like this is way more relatable for most of us anyway.
Why don’t we all try to implement at least one of these this week? Less loneliness will make for healthier, happier and more flourishing humans. And we can all agree that the world needs a few more of those, right?
Happy connecting loves!
want to read more from Jess? Check out her personal blog: https://jesswrites.org/