About keeping in touch with friends

About keeping in touch
(11 January 2020)

We live in a world full of human interaction and communication. With the advent of the Internet, creating connections has never been easier. Social media and phones give us the power to keep in touch with everyone we know, instantly. And yet, this abundance of options doesn’t bring us the happiness we hoped for. In fact, we might find ourselves more lonely than ever. We have the power to connect, but it doesn’t fulfill our real needs.

Lets look at the connections we make. They usually come from common interests, hobbies, situations, projects, etc. We became very good at making short-term connections, they increased in quantity, but not so much in quality. When we try to create deeper relationships, we find ourselves unable to maintain them over long periods of time. We realize this when we remember about our old friends. We feel melancholic and we want to reach out to them, but we are afraid of bothering them. How can we bring back the old quality of our relationship?

Lets try to understand this internal conflict we feel: When we remember about our friends, what is happening at that very moment? Aside from memories, what else is there? If we go deep enough, we will discover the real source of melancholy: our imagination. We imagine stories based on fragments of experience, which we call memories, and these stories create a desire to connect. Seeing this will help us become detached from them. We need to see them for what they are. Once we are no longer trapped by our memories, we can change our direction, from protecting old stories, towards creating new ones. We can start connecting with our friends.

We need to understand what makes us hesitate or stop trying. We could say we lack a good topic to start the conversation. But is that true? If we are honest with ourselves, we can see that is actually an excuse for us to feel safe. We are afraid that our friends might not be interested in talking to us, or that they will not remember the same stories, or that they are different from how we knew them. But more importantly, we are afraid that once we revive our connection, we might not be able to keep it going and it might simply fade away.

We need to acknowledge our fears and not get attached to our imagination. Only then will we have the courage to take action. And the only action we can take is to be vulnerable and tell our friends we want to connect with them. It might be scary and even painful. We might be fools and realize that our friendship is over. But that is fine. We can create new ones. We shall focus on those deep and healthy relationships which help us enjoy our lives.

 

Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend or a meaningful day.

— Dalai Lama

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