Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship. Someone emailed me recently venting over her disappointment in the lack of support she’d received from friends regarding a new endeavor and the difficulty of making new friend after college. My response to her was that I’d had very similar experiences.
This email conversation reminded me of something I’d heard on National Public Radio a few weeks ago. A woman (probably some kind of therapist) was giving people advice on how to avoid getting depressed if they were laid off. She said that having meaningful relationships is the most effective way to prevent depression. I deduced from this, that having more meaningful relationships would lead to more happiness in my life and therefore bring me closer to joy.
Having meaningful relationships takes effort. Do you have meaningful relationships with your friends and family? Do you invest time in these relationships? Are you supportive of your friends and family member’s endeavors’? Honestly I think I can do better in all of these areas.
I do have meaningful relationships with friends and family but I would like more. I’d like to make new friends. This is something that gets harder as you get older. When we are children we are thrust into social settings, primarily school, that forces us to meet new people at regular intervals. New people often equal new friends. After the school years we meet people at work and if we are lucky we make a few friends there but the rotation of new people at work is often not that great, although I have been blessed to have made several good friends at work. One reason for me trying some of the activities I listed in Devil’s Workshop… other than my desire to be more active and get a hobby, is to make new friends.
I am blessed with some meaningful relationships with friends and family. However most of these are relationships are not as meaningful or deep as I would like. I do believe that you often get out of things what you put into them. I have been supportive of friends’ endeavors. But, I have not invested the time and effort to create as deep or meaningful relationship as I would like.
One of the suggestions given to me regarding how to bring more joy to my life was planning events like dinners and movies with friends. This will help me to invest more time and effort into my friendships. As matter of fact I just came home from a girl’s weekend in Atlantic City. Not only did this trip bring some joy to my life by getting me out of the house and rid of some of that idle time. It allowed me to put in some face to face time with a good friend. We were able to really talk, not text, not IM, not Facebook message each other, but really talk. Real conversations, sharing of ideas and plans brings deeper meaning to relationships.
Over the years I’ve also not always been very open about my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. That is something that writing this Blog has helped me with. While many of you reading today do not know me, some of you are also good friends and are gaining a little insight as to what’s going on in my head. Since starting this blog, I’ve already had several friends express interest in exploring the activities I’m trying in pursuit of joy and have given me motivation to keep writing.
So putting a little more time and effort with my friendships while being more open will help me to be a better friend. Better friend equals more meaningful relationships and result in my getting even closer to closing the gap between myself and Joy.