It was a miracle that we were even talking phone to phone. My friend Deborah and I are like most creative people these days – overcommitted. I heard the edge of anger in her voice when she told me that we never see each other anymore.
It was true. We hadn’t seen each other. It wasn’t for wanting. Deborah is a dynamic, fun, on the ball person with whom I shared a lot of fun and connection. It wasn’t her, it was my schedule.
I reassured her that I was still committed to our friendship. And then I got out my coaching toolkit and saved our friendship.
“Let’s plan a regular date,” I suggested. “That way the hassle of scheduling is gone and we’re sure to connect regularly.”
“That sounds great,” Deborah replied. I could hear the relief in her voice and I felt the narrow escape of losing a good friend.
How did we manage to not just save but solidify our friendship?
This is what we did. We scheduled a monthly dinner and Scrabble date on a Sunday night. We alternated between our homes. It’s a complete treat to go to Deborah’s home. She always makes a fantastic meal of salad, vegetables, fish and. I always make a fantastic meal of salad, vegetables, fish or soup.
We catch up over dinner then relax onto the couch for a Scrabble game which she invariably wins. (Okay, that’s an understatement. She kicks my ass every time by at least two hundred points. And I’m a very good player.)
Who do you want to connect with more frequently this year? A colleague? An old classmate or acquaintance? A family member?
Call this person and ask if she’d like to meet for lunch (dinner, drink, walk, whatever). If you enjoy your time together, ask if you can set up a regular meeting. Once you’ve got your structure set up, be sure to make the next appointment while you’re still together. After we’ve packed up the Scrabble game, Deborah and I always get our calendars out and make our next meeting then. I love this, since I hate emailing back and forth to schedule.
These Sunday evenings are one of the things I miss most about Boulder. When I left, Deborah and I had been meeting this way for over four years. Our connection is stronger than ever and our trust in our friendship is deep. This simple coaching tool of matching a desire with a plan made all the difference for our friendship.
With the plethora of online connecting points, we can sometimes miss out on in-person connections. One small step can make it easy to be in touch with people that fuel you and your creativity.
Photo: Deborah at a Spa Party I hosted at Moondance Botanicals in Denver.