Isn’t it funny how birthdays can make you take stock of things? Or maybe that’s just me. I’ve always been a sucker for a birthday and now I’m (as of yesterday) 33 years old, things are no different. I spent the night before my 33rd birthday thinking of all the things I’d want to tell my 23 year old self, and one of those things was about friendships.
It’s really easy when you’re a new parent to drift away from old friends who have more time for impromptu pub visits and less interest in sleep routines than you do. But one of the things I made sure of as a new mum – and still make sure of today as a mum of two – is to continue to put energy into old friendships. Sure, some of my old friends have drifted away, such is life, but the few core closest friends I had in my twenties are still just as much a part of my life now as they were then (longer than that in some cases – I still have the same best friend I had at eleven years old).
I think a huge part of this is down to technology. Back when I got my first ever mobile phone – an Orange pre-pay Nokie 51:10 number complete with Snake and two removable phone cover options – texting cost 10p a go and was reserved for really important late night boy questions. Fast forward seventeen years and there are a gazillion different ways I can keep in touch with friends all over the world, simply by picking up my phone.
I used to live in fear that my phone would get lost or be stolen, because it was such a huge hassle looking up the customer service phone number back then. It would involve rifling through a phone book (an actual book – not a website!), or waiting ten years for the dial up connection to hook me up to the internet on the computer. These days it’s a simple click on www.contacttelephonenumbers.com and the Orange customer service number is at your fingertips.
Then there’s the whole social media thing. Although nothing ever compares to a proper personal text message or phone call (or even better – snail mail like this one I received from my lovely friend recently), it’s easy to keep up to date with the big milestones in people’s lives through social media. Most of my friends are either on Facebook or Instagram, and the ones who aren’t are all Whatsapp happy, so the opportunities to stay connected are pretty endless.
Still, despite the many opportunities to keep in touch, it does leave me wondering if this is always a good thing. Sometimes it can feel like you’re in touch with someone when you’re not, just because you’ve had a scroll through their Facebook feed – and we all know this is just someone’s edited highlights. What’s more, the choice on offer for ways to connect can be kind of overwhelming at times. How many times have you received a text and forgotten to reply to it because you got sucked into a conversation on Facebook, for example?
Tell me, do you have any friendships you’ve nurtured for years? How do you keep in touch with people you don’t get to see regularly?
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