Friendship Hack: Just Schedule It!

K   |   February 7, 2020 

I was so excited a long-term friend was going to be in my city attending a conference and wanted to catch up. She had messaged me to check I would be around the week she was in town, and I happily replied in the affirmative. She messaged, "Great, I'll text you when I get there." And my heart sank. I knew what would happen. Her schedule would be full, there would be little time, and she would message me at the last minute, at just a time when I wasn't free. It had happened before - and it did that time again.

Technology has provided us with lots of benefits, but one of the challenges we face in this age of "instant this" and "instant that" is that of sustaining real connections when everything is left to the last minute because we can leave it to the last minute.

I can still remember the time before mobile phones (yes, I am revealing my age here). Back then, if you wanted to see someone, you had to contact the person in advance. A phone call would be made, a time and place arranged, and both people would agree to this, and most of the time both would turn up as well. You would turn up because cancelling at the last minute was impossible. There was no way to reach your friend who was waiting at the bus stand or cinema, so you planned and arranged so that you could show up.

In two decades of living in India, the most significant "hack" I have discovered for keeping friendships is to make a plan and to show up. I have a good friend with whom I worked in India, who for the last 15 years, has lived on the opposite side of the world. For most of that 15 years we have Skyped every second Monday evening. Each time we meet the last thing we do (after exchanging prayer requests) is to schedule our next virtual visit. Sometimes her travel or mine means that a more extended period passes between chats, but we never finish our time together without planning the next one. We both write it in our diaries (or schedule it in our phones) and block off the time as busy. Occasionally we have to reschedule, but we never cancel as our friendship is too important to both of us.

The fruit of this scheduling is that we are much closer friends than we were when we worked together. Hundreds of hours of listening and sharing together has built a deep and lasting friendship. And my friend jokes that there are still some things I know about her that her husband (of ten plus years) hasn't learned yet.

In a world of last-minute cancellations and tentative plans, my "every second Monday" visits are a blessing beyond value.

Proverbs 18:24 says "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

Friendship is so valuable that it becomes like family, but to get there takes effort, and scheduling!


Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

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K is an Aussie transplant who has lived in North India for the last two decades. Her biggest buzz comes from being able to help others to learn and to enjoy a deeper relationship with Jesus. K can frequently be found in one of the cafes in her adopted home city drinking hot chocolate since real decaf coffee has yet to make its way to India.

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