We have the means to remember birthdays with ease, "like" a friend’s latest adventure, and feel a part of a major milestone from many miles away. Texts and "likes" require little effort from the sender and instant gratification from the receiver. I realized the relationships I was fostering behind a screen were not necessarily the ones that were the most meaningful, only the most accessible. I had lost touch with friends who do not use social media and built superficial relationships with people who shared their life via Snapchat, but couldn’t pick up the phone to hear my voice.
A study showed that people cannot have more than 150 meaningful relationships in their lives at any point. With friends and loved ones spread across the world, I wrote down each person I wanted to keep close and thought about how I could meaningfully communicate with them on a regular basis. Take stock of your friendships, make a list and reach out regularly—however sterile this may seem. It is important to decide who you see in your future and fight to keep them there. Admittedly, I drop the ball a lot consumed by work, studies, passions and people, but I would do anything for the people on this list. Months and years pass faster than I wish they would, and friendships require the concerted effort on both ends to maintain.
You may have a friend on your list that does not have you on theirs. If you feel like a relationship is one-sided, speak directly with them to bridge the communication gap. People will come and go off your list and hard as you may try sometimes it is out of your control. The hardest part of relationships is walking away from ones that do not serve you. Revisit your that list of relationships that do serve you and focus on those. When one door closes another one opens, and while a lost friendship can feel like a reason for mourning, it also provides the space and energy to focus on a more reciprocal relationship.
Photo: Jake Laub