Although it’s so very early 2000s of me to say, I sometimes (often) miss the way we used to build and sustain friendships.
Before texting and its clever shorthand (read: emoji – they’re cute and fun and I use them too, but are we approaching the point where we’re almost too lazy to form words…?)
I’m not hating on texting as technology. Indeed, it’s a platform I heart and use often.
Making/confirming/changing plans with family and friends? Check.
Quick logistics check in with my partner in parenting? Check.
Sharing something funny/poignant/thought-provoking with someone who will appreciate it? Check.
Like last week, when I had to show my husband photographic evidence of the cowboy-hat wearing convertible driver who’d just done a slow mo cruise through the heart of downtown to show off his shotgun rider, an English bulldog named Big Juicy. (I only know this because the pooch was perched lazily over the drop top’s passenger side door, outfitted with a tasseled felt sign that proclaimed his canine badassery.)
These are, after all, vital slices of life that must be shared when two spouses with the same appreciation for goofy humor are three states apart.
It’s efficient and effective, and absent actually being in each other’s presence, an okay substitute.
It is not, however, even in the same vicinity as the real thing.
I’d much rather watch my husband’s eyes crinkle in the corners when he laughs than to receive from him a yellow smiley face with fake blue-ish tears on either side.
The same holds true with friends.
I’d greatly prefer catching up on the details of my life (and yours) in (gasp!) person, when we can make eye contact and enjoy a bit of fellowship, without eating into the data storage limits of our Apple products.
I grasp fully that sometimes a short text is the best we can do at a particular moment in time. No judgment for that, and thanks for thinking of me (truly). There have been plenty of occasions when I’ve pinged off a quick text myself, remembering that sage saying that the smallest act means more than the grandest intention. And for these purposes, something is definitely better than nothing.
But it’s not everything.
Having been on the giving and receiving end of text-ships, I can say the practice is at best unfulfilling and at worst insincere.
For me, the seeds of real friendship are sown in places as unremarkable as a back porch or a well-loved family kitchen table. Absent that, a glass of wine and an entrée of anything not in the weekly rotation of family suppers can work wonders.
Life is sometimes astonishingly beautiful, other times unexpectedly cruel, and always, always busy. It’s also best shared with sisters who have your back and are by your side.
Isn’t that the hallmark of true friendship, anyway?
After someone learns about your hurts, and your warts, and your imperfections, and in the words of Bridget Jones’s Mark Darcy, likes you “just the way you are”?
So know this. If I ask you to grab lunch or drinks or dinner or whatever, it’s because (so far anyway), I think you’re a cool person, and I’d like to get to know you better.
Making time for friendships like these – real live friendships that are bound by more than a series of cloud-based conversations – replenishes me in a way no text-ship ever could.
Let’s be (not just text) friends.