How to Spend Time with Friends
We often talk about the need for the social support it's been a key part of wellbeing and a happy life. Friends are a meaning for a relationship, a connection of trust support honesty and ease. Who you consider as friends effects has supported you feel in life, a sense of loneliness or isolation, and the logic connection the greater community and purposeful life. Being back in the UK this summer I had the pleasure of spending time with my dearest friends.
I have never been one for celebrating my birthday I decided this year make the most of an opportunity to see people while I was back in the UK. I based it on how I would like to spend my ideal birthday and invited people to come and share time with me. Often at these kind of events I worry about if anyone will show up and that no one cares to make the effort to celebrate with me.
This year I made a concerted effort to focus on enjoying my day and valuing whoever I connected with by being present and in the moment with them, displaying my gratitude for our connection and their generosity sharing time with me.
I really enjoyed my birthday was really touched to spend time with those there. I did not miss or worry about who was not present but felt immersed in my birthday and felt really blessed.
Not rushing around
It is very easy when you visit once a year to get caught up in a checklist of seeing people. In the past I have been guilty of allocating an hour to each person I see if I run off to the next. I found myself exhausted clock watching and not feeling like I really enjoyed the company of the people I had seen.
This trip I decided to allow half a day to see someone if not longer. This could give us a good amount of time to talk about events in our lives, but also our connection have a deeper chat and support one another. It meant I had to be selective and make choices about where I placed my energy. I intuitively engaged with what would be the right choices for me by looking at the overall balance of my days and weeks and time. Those relationships that needed nourishing managed to fit into the timings perfectly.
Silence and Play
This is my favourite friendship - someone that you do not need to speak to. You can spend time together in silence acknowledging your different moods and energies. It is only when you spend enough hours with someone that you can enjoy the silence and not spend your whole time talking. The silence promotes a deeper connection and a trust in each other that words cannot convey.
You can play games showing your vulnerabilities, idiosyncrasies and silliness where you laugh and perhaps support each other. These games build trust and teach you more about one another. Playfulness is key to building healthy and long-lasting relationships. We often forget to give sufficient time to ‘just play’.
Perhaps you build or construct something, a problem-solving exploration surrounded by children helping you out. You work as a partnership in improving your communication skills some of it non-verbal and some verbal as you problem-solve. The task is a brief satisfaction but the time as friends connecting in this way, priceless. Yes, with me there is likely some movement, meditation and possibly some work if that is part of our connection.
You need to allow time for the space to arise where all these things to occur. It cannot just be over a cup of coffee or dinner in a restaurant. There needs to be quiet, no music playing or TV in the background. It is important to share different skills and show vulnerability. This can even occur when you cook meals together working out what your cooking, finding appropriate pots and pans for adjusting the recipe for missing ingredients. You make it an experiment like child's play.
I never grew up feeling like I have a tribe. I didn't feel that I belonged. My friends have always been international and writing pen pal letters were vital to my friendships before the digital age of social media. To leave the UK was to give me an opportunity to connect with all my friends worldwide, where I worked less and had more time to build deeper genuine connections.
When life is changing one of the hardest things is recognising that you have to let go of people that you love and have had great experiences and time with. We fear that if we leave or move on and I'll change of direction we lose people in our life. You have to have trust that genuine and good relationships will endure whatever happens and changes in life.
I acknowledged it was time to leave the UK I knew that people would still be here for me and if they weren't going to be there for me, I accepted that it was time to move on from that relationship. I released that relationship from the future, thanking it with love for what it has done for me in the past.
Finding new people
I'm very good at making new friends, yet shut down when networking for my work. As I have lived a retreat life it's easy to blur the lines of clients and friends. The intensity of the experiences often bring value to both sides and I believe that our souls connect without distinction of friend or client. I have been very fortunate with the wonderful people I have met. I feel like I've built a global tribe similar to that which I had as a child, but thanks to technology I can keep connected to everyone while I travel.
I have considered ways to connect this global tribe as part of my business through Facebook and other solutions. There is always something missing in this digital tribe perhaps the lack of time and physical space to allow the silence games and explorations. You can have some great long-distance connections and relationships, but I find this very difficult in the group scenario online.
What I witnessed in our last retreat and the one beforehand, are the numbers of people who returned to my retreats. The amount of connections they have between each other shows why they meet together in person too. I see that the retreat as building a worldwide community people who do not need to see each other regularly, become a best friend who chats on the phone every day, but the people whose you can enjoy that space, exploration and deep profound connection during a retreat.
I have found a life where are my way of deeply connecting with people is fluid, some labelled ‘friends’ or ‘clients’ or ‘collaborators’, that is our choice that we agree the boundaries as our relationship unfolds. I just acknowledge how very lucky I am to have found the travelling tribe that supports me.
Future ways to connect
I do not know how relationships will change once they move to Australia. What kind of local tribe I'll become a part of and how this might change my international world. I do not see my way of connecting changing, or the international relationships that encourage me to travel and visit others.
Does it mean that you have to pay to be my friend? It is unhealthy to separate and categorise who we are and what we do. It disconnects you from a greater sense of purpose, the deeper connection and relationships we build if you cannot move between these blurred lines. I do not wish I have a desire to separate work and personal, friend or client. My intention is to support and spread healing and love to others. I have to live in this material world, earn money to pay for things and it is part of the energy and value exchange at which we all coexist.
Most importantly as my timings shift, things settle there will be time for connecting in new ways. As all our lives change and shift, do not lose touch with me. Perhaps you do not wish to receive my emails, read my blogs, maybe you are not on social media or WhatsApp me. We choose together how we connect and when our relationship has passed - perhaps give me a bell if it is time to move on. It is always nice to say farewell, or maybe we just need a moment to connect again and re-find our spark.