For our children’s sake, we want them to know that adult friendships matter. We don’t want them to have to rely on TV to figure out how adults interact. By watching us, our children see that being a good friend means listening when others have something to share, and not being distracted by anything else — including our cellphones, the football game, or even our own children (unless someone is bleeding).
As an undergraduate, I first heard the term “residual benefactor” in an economics class. A residual benefactor is the chump who gets whatever is left over when a company is liquidated — typically, not much. When we’re not careful, the people we care about often become residual benefactors: We leave them for last, giving them whatever bits of time are left over after we’ve attended to everything else.
And yet, the funk. I soon identified the problem: The more professional opportunities came my way, the more time I spent away from my real-life friends — the people I truly cared about. Maintaining friendships with people to talk to, depend on, and enjoy takes time.