The Friendship Crisis

I had lunch with a new friend yesterday.

We had met a while back, then sat near each other at a wedding reception, and I invited him to my birthday party.

He couldn’t make the party, so we planned to have lunch “soon.”

It took us six weeks.

My calendar was pretty full with travel. We both forgot the first appointment we’d made. And his wife was about to go into labor so it was tentative that yesterday would work—we almost got pushed back who knows how many months.

I lamented aloud how hard it seems to be to make friends or even just to see your closest friends. Everyone’s busy. Work hours stretch longer. There are home improvement projects. We all need some downtime. And once the kids arrive…

Do we no longer have time for friendship? (Click to tweet this.)

20100610.3942If we’re honest, though, I wonder if the problem isn’t the really one of these important reasons we always cite. Maybe it’s catching up on Breaking Bad and seeing what our friends have been posting on Instagram. (Don’t get me wrong—on Sunday, I posted four images and a video on Instagram.)

My schedule needs a laxative. (Click to tweet this.)

Last Friday, I fell into some hockey tickets and called/texted about 20 friends. This took time, and it was short notice, so my hopes weren’t all that high. I did find another newer friend to go, finalizing it less than an hour before the puck dropped. Granted, it was short notice all around…

But are only 5% of us free to hang out with a friend on a Friday?

One was just back from a work trip. One was in Seattle. One had a church thing. One was sick. One had a family party. And the list goes on, all good stuff.

Let me be clear—I’m as guilty as the next guy. My calendar is full this week Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights. But at what cost?

I have tons of friends in town, really great guys, from our neighborhood, other parents of our kids’ friends, from work, from college, from church, even one from elementary school.

But I hardly ever see them. No one just stops in. It’s hard to connect.

What are we doing wrong? (Leave a comment here.)


  • Luke

    We started scheduling standing meetings with a couple every week. They come over – no agenda, no activity; We just live our lives as we normally would (even scheduling other mtgs as needed etc) and just fold them into our lives. This was necessary to see them consistently, and still be able to keep up with priorities and responsibilities. We love it. My wife said tonight she loves that we can count on seeing our friends every week!

  • Jessica Fick

    Sometimes I think it’s just laziness. It takes a lot less effort to sit in the couch and watch whatever you want on netflix than spend an hour texting people to hang out. Until you start to feel lonely and realize it would have been far better to text those friends even to come over and sit on the couch with you. I’ve been trying to be more spontaneous with friends- texting them to go out for emergency ice cream. Usually they’re grateful I reached out and know their only option isn’t being home by themselves.

  • acjeske

    Luke, that’s a good ideas. I’m going to talk to Chrissy (and some friends!) about that…And Jess, you’re right, of course. It’s easier to just sit on the couch. Lots of people wouldn’t have called or texted 20 people. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment. But I also think you’re right that others would probably want to hang out to do nothing together…because then, you know, you’re doing something together.

  • Maureen

    people don’t do”work” in their free time together…if we did that, we’d spend more time together. ie. I can’t justify hanging out when the lawn needs mowing, or the laundry needs doing. women used the quilt together, garden together, etc. we don’t want to seem too needy by asking friends to come work with us on some self serving project…and we don’t have time to go help them shovel, or paint, or move, or rake, or fill in whatever is on your list… or do we? if i help you paint your living room, maybe you’d have time to help me pull out this year’s veggie garden…if we lived in the same city… ;-)

  • acjeske

    Great point, Maureen. Last Sunday, I had three friends over and we cut down and cut up trees. And I have a pending appointment with a friend to cut up some wood for him with my chainsaw. Up with work with friends!

  • Maddy

    Adam – I started to wonder about this when I was still a student. In high school, I’d figured that in college I’d finally structure my time the way I wanted to, and my friends and I could hang virtually nonstop. Was not nearly the case. I started to grasp prioritizing time with friends/neighbors my last year before graduating, and I’m still learning. I nodded/silently fist-pumped to this post earlier today, but came back because I think “The Innovation of Loneliness” ( speaks into this topic.

    • acjeske

      Yes, Maddy, I’ve seen that video, too. My reaction’s not been all positive, as I think it doesn’t deal open-handedly with some of the benefits of social media, even in face-to-face relationships.

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