Nurturing a friendship beyond acquaintanceship requires a variety of shared experiences, conversations light and deep, seeing each other in a number of situations—and probably through some stressful ones. A few of my friendships were launched in happy moments and cemented in life’s trials.
In childhood, given the seeming endlessness of time and the volume of it spent with peers, deep friendships developed in a matter of months, if not weeks. In adulthood, with career, family, household, and general life responsibilities, it takes years. And focus.
What you’ve spent so much time cultivating, you shouldn’t easily let go to seed. Hence my goal, mentioned in a previous post, to nurture my relationships after life swept me too far from the people who matter most.
Alas, nurturing doesn’t prove easier than creating.
Shortcuts don’t exist.
Time with many people at once has efficiency and ease benefits over shared moments in which two or three people focus on each other with minimal distraction. You only have to plan one activity to see many contacts at once. Through large events, clusters of friends stay in general touch and preserve and build their group dynamic. Further, some activities just feel more fun with a crowd. Korean barbecue, for example. Heck, barbecues of all kind.
Yet you can’t assume you’ve nurtured your relationships when you’ve spent time with friends only in large groups. Moments shared with just one other person—maybe two—provide the only path past the stories safe for general audiences to the real truths.
And so we’ve returned to the time challenge—rather, the lack-of-time challenge—for busy adults.
Does this mean each of us can have only a handful of serious, close friends? I’d say yes. And I’d say this fact further hammers home their importance.
What do you think?