I don’t get out much. Yeah, I shuttle the kids back and forth to camp, do the food shopping, go to the synagogue, etc. But that’s not getting out, not really.
This week I was able to hang with friends. A few of us met up for beers and shared what was going on in our lives, talked about the screwy political season, discussed the latest terror attack, and more.
It was a good time.
After I get home from a night like that, I always promise myself I’ll make more effort to get together with friends. The majority of the time, the only people I see are those individuals who I come across in my daily life. I’m happy to see them and glad for their presence in my life.
So, I try to convince myself that’s just the way it is. And it’s fine. After all, life is busy. Between work and the children and oh yeah, a marriage – who has time to hang out with friends? We all understand that – right. It’s not a question of want to but able to. So, we do our best to keep in touch and that’s cool. Isn’t it?
When I was growing up, my mom would get together with other neighborhood moms and played mahjong. They would take turns hosting the weekly game. When it came time for my mother to host, she would be particularly careful about cleaning the house and buy good snacks (she also wouldn’t allow my brothers and I to have any of the snacks unless there were leftovers the next morning). She also kept in touch and got together with childhood friends who felt like part of the family.
Then, there was my father. I don’t ever remember meeting a friend of his. There were stories about a friend, who also happened to be the best man at his wedding, who moved to California. There were stories about other friends as well. But my father did not get out with friends. He worked long hours, loved to watch the Phillies, enjoyed being in a bowling league and was social when he saw people. I wonder how not maintaining friendships impacted him.
There are all kinds of studies on male friendships. There are people in my dad bloggers group who talk about the challenges of keeping and making friends. While it might be easier to simply stay home, it’s not better.
These days it’s easy to rely on Facebook and other social media as a means of keeping in touch. But it’s just not the same. Social media is a filler, a quick line, a fun picture. All those things are nice and can be meaningful too. Yet, there’s nothing like being in the presence of others. The dynamic, the laughs, the empathy – that comes from being among friends.
I need to hang with friends more often.