My husband and I had Christmas parties and gatherings on our calendar this past holiday season. Lots of them. We drank, we ate, we dressed up, we ate. We ate. We ate. We also had the opportunity to catch up with lots of friends we hadn’t seen in a while. We talked about jobs, kids, family, our holiday travel plans, but the words we heard the most …. “So busy.” No matter the party, no matter the conversation. “Busy.”
I’m guilty of it myself. Someone asks how our weekend was, “busy…but fun.” How as our Christmas? “Busy. But good busy, we saw lots of friends and family.” How was our vacation? How’s being parents of two? How was our Tuesday afternoon? You guessed it. Busy. It’s become the default answer for our generation, it seems, but when did filling our calendar become more important than filling our time with the people we love? Are we really that much busier than generations before us, or is it simply that keeping up with someone’s Instagram account has become enough interaction to sustain a relationship? Being busy used to be temporary, but now it seems busy has become synonymous with success, happiness, liveliness, and adventure. We somehow value being in a constant state of frenetic activity.
I have a friend, Meghan, who I’ll call out by name because I’m about to sing her praises. She is likely the busiest person I know in the true sense of the word. She doesn’t seem to miss a birthday party, a baby shower, a music festival or a Cincinnati Reds game. I have no doubt that her calendar has very little white space. She fills her life with the people she loves and takes hundreds of fantastic pictures in the process. But here’s something else she’s good at … picking up the phone. If I text her, I typically get an immediate phone call and we cram about 4 hours of catching up into her 40 minute commute to work. Our conversations dart from high school memories, to her students, to my children and her peaks and valleys of being 8 months pregnant and then back to a favorite episode of Downton Abbey. Though, no matter the topic, a long phone call with a friend who has known you for the better part of your life always feels good doesn’t it?
While I’m confessing my bad-friend sins here … I’ll be the first one to tell you that I am horrible at talking on the phone. (I’m trying to get better this year, I promise friends!) I’ll see a missed call, vowing to call them back but choosing to finish a list of other tasks first. What I’m realizing, though, is that it’s just that. A choice. I’m choosing to let other things take priority or to just text my friends when I’m thinking of them rather than dialing their number. Why? Because I’m busy of course, and that way I can hold conversations with several friends all at once. I can check in, check the box, and keep checking off my to do list. An exchange of quality for quantity, but it’s just not the same as hearing someone’s voice.
My hope this year is that you’ll join me in making people a priority. It may not feel like you have the time for a quick phone call, but I can promise you it’s there if you want to find it badly enough.
Make the time, then make the call. I promise you won’t regret it.