Have you heard about the Lifeboat project? I stumbled across this today and even as I type this, I can hear a little voice in my head* intoning that there are no coincidences.**
You see, I was just thinking recently about how I miss our old house, as it was in the flow of things and friends would kind of regularly drop by. We were just down the street from the local elementary school and the park where many in our circle played Little League and basketball. We averaged one to two drop-in visits a week, and it was nice to be so plugged in to our friends' lives.
Since we moved to our apartment a year and a half ago, we are out of that pleasant little loop. We are just a few miles away, but parking on our street is challenging to say the least, and there’s the intercom to deal with, and the maze of our complicated apartment complex that newcomers have difficulty navigating. However, even beyond that little circle of local friends, I miss my larger circle of friends and how full my life has become that I live in the same city as many of my friends and still don’t get to see them.
So, back to Lifeboat, a “movement of people rediscovering great friendships.” Apparently in this hyperconnected age, it is quite common for people to have tremendous numbers of Facebook friends but still spend only 4% of their actual face time with their friends. The movement was spurred by a couple who were lamenting the decline of their relationships with their friends the further they moved into adulthood (in their case, their 30s). Well, good heavens! You might say this is a very first world problem to have. But I do think there is something to this, as our emotional relationships are so very important to our overall health. I can say that despite my busy life, there are times when I do feel very lonely. I love my husband, and I love my children, but sometimes I just need a girlfriend to vent to or hang with, and sometimes it just seems like such a project to get it together that I stop before I’ve even started as the thought of organizing something exhausts me.
Recently, I had lunch plans with some girlfriends who had to cancel because they work together and got roped into working on a Saturday (March 2nd) at the last minute. As we were trying by email to coordinate our schedules around our children and other commitments, we realized that we probably wouldn’t be able to get together until nearly mid-April. We were all pretty bummed. A couple of hours later, one friend excitedly emailed that her stepson’s mom had emailed to ask to switch visitation weekends, so we are good to go for March 23rd. Ultimately, it worked out, but it gives you an idea of how difficult it is to plan things. Lunch during the week is out because of distance and after work is out because two of us have issues with childcare.
That’s not to mention friends who I only see once a year or every couple of years, who live in various far-flung areas in Los Angeles County. It is not impossible for us to get together, it just takes some planning. In the Lifeboat spirit, I am trying to reach out and see people I haven’t seen in some time. Consider yourself forewarned.
Has the frequency of your friend interaction changed over time? Do you think this Lifeboat movement might be helpful to you or are you appalled that such a thing exists? Or are you somewhere in the middle? I’m curious.
* Note that I am not hearing other voices. I am not having auditory hallucinations. But thanks, thanks if you were concerned. No, really, thanks!
** Note that I am really disturbed to realize that the voice I am hearing in my head is Master Oogway (one of the Worst Phonetic Spellings Ever, I have to add) from Kung Fu Panda saying, “There are no accidents.”