And a minor resolution about friendship.
Wild coincidence but I was just thinking about this today too! https://twitter.com/lishiyori/status/1609645789264986112 <- The context was my New Years Eve plans last night, where I was supposed to go to two parties (one made up mostly of my friends, another bigger louder party that would have more chances to meet new people)... I ended up staying at my friends', but struggled with that decision mightily because I kept thinking (as someone very much looking for a romantic partner) things like 'what if that other place was where I'd bump into my future husband'? Should I have pushed myself out to a "bigger pool", rather than stayed with people I already knew? But that kind of thought made me feel so terrible and cynical too, like all I cared about was a numbers game and I was giving up something important to "maximize" my success. How could I be the kind of person who couldn't commit to her own friends?
So I've been thinking a lot about that tension, given a finite amount of time and social capacity, how to take care of your existing people while searching for new people. I feel terribly guilty about some friends who I have lost touch with due to getting involved in new social circles and spending so much time exploring potential nodes of connection rather than deepening my existing ones. But I really don't know what to do. I have tried to combine different circles before (more efficient! see more of my friends at once etc) and birthday parties are definitely one of the best contexts for that, but I found that the kinds of conversation I have with people are different in one-on-one or small-group settings: deeper, more intimate, more vulnerable. Large parties make for small conversation.
I have thought about calendly, but haven't been able to get over the embarrassment part 😅 I'd appreciate if you follow up with a post on how your experiment goes! So far, I've noticed that little things that have been really useful are 1) taking the initiative to ping people, even if you can't match schedules and meet up irl it's still showing that they're in your thoughts, and it opens up the road to more regular/deeper convos; 2) giving birthday cards/gifts (with a thoughtful comment!) at their birthday, in my early-30s-NYC friends' groups that is quite rare unless you are super close friends; and 2) discord, because it's so easy to chat everyday in there if a few other people are also active, and I've definitely grown closer with people who I'm effectively "talking" to every day even if we never see each other irl. Discord somehow feels easier than texting (possibly due to the web UI?), yet more substantial than drive-by instagram comments/DMs. Not everyone uses Discord though, especially not routinely, so I'm still searching for approaches besides the big ones like moving closer to a friends' circle.
I think all your ideas are great. Birthdays are great to reclaim as we get older! ;)
A year or so ago post covid shutdown a not that close friend organized a series of friend dinners where we had dinner together in their apt, only like 6-8 people at a time. This was very rare since covid, but I took his offer as inspiration to also Be someone who offers and connects with others to sustain relationships. Because even if were to lose every material thing we possess, we will never be in need if we nurture and show appreciation for our loved ones, and even the ones we barely know! They are all potential loved ones, who knows if one doesn't even try? 😁
"life is understood backwards but lived forward"
I have come to see how true this really is, thanks for seeding it for the day ✨