Getting Closer Quicker
People drift apart. It’s easy to drift apart but it can be hard to figure out how to get closer again. There are some friends that it only takes minutes and others that never feel the same. Yet other friendships are a lot harder to rekindle.
One of the realities as our kids get older is that we will spend less and less time with them and as they become more self-sufficient and busy, it will require a concerted effort to remain close.
My question in writing this blog is, “Are there any ways to make it easier to get closer again?” In essence, what can I do to pick up as soon as possible on moving forward in the relationship rather than just trying to catch up?
Sticking with the idea of drifts and currents, one of the most powerful currents around us is the jet stream.
The jet stream is one of those things that I don’t pay much attention to. I can’t see it, it is out of reach, and I can’t control it. The jet stream is constantly moving and it affects not only the weather (remember the arctic blasts last winter?) but also how long it takes for me to fly places.
Pilots chart their trips to harness the jet stream. Flying in the jet stream saves time and fuel (as long as you are going with it rather than against it). However, the jet stream doesn’t always go directly to where we need to go so pilots have to figure out when to fly in the jet stream and when to get out.
I see some ideas about restoring relationships from jet streams. First, there are some powerful friendship tools that we can use to restore our friendships. However, these tools come at a risk that we end up missing going where we need to go with our friendships.
First the power for good. There are three primary things that quickly bring people closer again:
- Shared memories, stories, jokes – Laughing together, looking at pictures, remembering life can be a great way to get caught up in a friendship. When I get together with the guys that I sang with in high school and college, we can’t hardly do anything without remembering a goofy memory or embarrassing each other.
- Doing something together. There is power in activity for two reasons. First, it is much less awkward than sitting around not sure what to say. It creates new memories and gets us out of our shell. Shared goals have power to bring people together.
- A shared enemy. I share this because like it or not, having a shared enemy does bring people together in a powerful way. I’m not advocating having people as enemies for quite a few obvious reasons. Rather than taking this as a negative, what if you formed a relationship that helped you both be accountable in a certain area. Maybe focus on getting each other to exercise and eat better, grow spiritually, parent better, build strong marriages, or a bunch of other things. The enemy is obesity, laziness, discouragement, and together you work to slay the enemy.
The risk with the jet stream is that we may move quickly ahead but may not get where we want to go. The risk of some of these tools is that we risk things being superficial, unless we are purposeful in doing the hard things, too. It’s possible to use the “jet stream” and manipulate things, or be superficial and end up hurting the relationship rather than helping it.
At Project Patch, we have quite a few kids that come from broken homes and they’ve had parents that come in and out of their lives. The parents often buy them things, take them out for ice-cream, and make all sorts of promises. The kids want to be close and readily give their hearts to their parents. However, the well-meaning parent often doesn’t do the hard work of being there for the long-term and being a parent rather than Santa Claus.
The key is that there are ways to help rekindle relationships that are useful, but it also takes knowing when to get out of the jet stream and start doing the everyday things that relationships require.