Day 160: How can I be a better friend?

I’m worried about something — I don’t know if I’m a good enough friend.

#MyWorkIsYourPlay

I find myself to be blessed to enjoy the work I’ve done, especially in the last several years. In my efforts, I meet incredibly fascinating, engaging people, and often we spend time together in contexts that aren’t strictly professional.

Am I still working in those modes? I’m not sure.

There are only a handful of people I spend time who exist outside of the context of my work, and even then, there are slight overlaps here and there. The same applied for my time in school or in previous jobs — the majority of my social network extends from my occupation.

What does this say about me? When I’m with you, as a work-friend, am I there because I’m your friend, or do I have professional intentions in mind, however slight? If so, does that possibilitychange the way you see our engagements?

What is a friend?

We all have different answers for this, but here’s mine:

A friend…

  • … will be the first person to offer you support that you really need, potentially even before you request it.
  • … is thinking about your interests first and theirs afterwards.
  • … trusts that you’ll make good on any debts you’ve incurred, largely because you’ve established that precedent.
  • … will try to protect you when you’re feeling unsafe.
  • … will want to solve your problems, even though sometimes caring and listening is more than enough
  • … knows where I’m vulnerable and how to hurt me, and chooses not to act on that knowledge with responsibility

You don’t have to agree with me, align with me, or have anything in common with me. You just have to think about me and my own well-being ahead of yourself.

That’s what I look for in friendship.

When people begin to drift, what do you do?

Historically, I’ve gotten close with groups of friends and lost touch. Rarely are the situations explosive break-ups. They usually occur not with a bang, but with a whimper. People move on, physically and emotionally. Calls go unanswered. Interests change. people change.

For me, friendships like that last 1–2 years, on average. That must concern many of you who consider me a friend in that time span.

I have a few exceptions to the rule, people who have remained friends with me for years, decades, even near-lifetimes. When these exceptions get in contact with me, it’s like we don’t miss a beat and catch up in full. I’m aiming to travel the world to celebrate one person’s upcoming marriage, and I’d easily go anywhere to them if something terrible happened.

I want more of that in my life, ad I want to be more like that to others.

Who’s in?

— Lee

PS: I want to get back to Hinako, but I need to breathe. Weekend soon!