Last Monday I drove 90 minutes each way to meet a friend who’d flown in from Chicago to attend a conference. Her schedule was tight, so it made sense for me to drive to meet her during a couple hour break between afternoon sessions. I hadn’t seen her in person for several years. It’s one of those cherished relationships where you reconnect immediately and the conversations are supportive, fun, honest, and vulnerable.
The weather was dicey, lots of rain and wind on the drive down. I arrived first and soon she walked in. After warm, welcoming hugs, we sat down with our warm drinks. It felt timeless. The time flew by as the conversation flowed—both of us sharing pieces of our lives, difficult personal issues, tears, laughter, and even our writing projects and challenges. I drove home feeling so grateful for this nourishing friendship. A perfect afternoon.
Would you drive a total of 3 hours for a 2 hour conversation with a friend? You already know my answer! Some people hesitate to drive 30 minutes for a lunch with a friend.
Not sure why? Is it because many of us have fallen out of the habit post-pandemic of getting together in person casually or we feel it’s just too much? Many feel social media updates, phone calls or online video (Zoom, Facetime) keep them up to date on friends’ lives.
Not me. I believe those are bare minimum substitution or supplements to “in real life” encounters. The absence of face-to-face interaction with those we cherish deprives us of something valuable. (I recognize there are situations where getting together is impossible for a variety of reasons and video calls are a life and friendship saver.)
Just as the movie “Hamilton” was extraordinary and entertaining, it did not compare with sitting in the audience watching the live performance of actors on stage. There’s an energy exchanged beyond words when people are in the same space. I can’t describe it, but I can feel it.
Even the Surgeon General describes the epidemic that so many people feel lonely, isolated, disconnected from others in a hyper-connected world. One way to enrich relationships and our own lives is to get together in person with a friend.
Relationships tend to languish, like a plant without water, when we don’t nourish them with our actual presence.