Like any relationship, friendships require nurturing and work, but there are always going to be obstacles to navigate on the course of platonic connection such as ineffective communication or the inability to grasp that your friend still exists when they’re not in your direct field of vision. Here’s how to maintain friendships even when you’re bad at texting, talking, and a basic understanding of object permanence.
Plan quality time.
Everyone’s busy with their own lives and it’s easy to keep pushing back that lunch or coffee date, but it’s vital to plan and set aside specific time to spend with your friend. Know you’re a bad texter? Be more direct! Next time you run into your pal, stop them in their tracks, put your hands on their shoulders, then put your hands all over their face and try to form a physical memory that helps you conceive of them as a being that exists in the world all the time. You may forget all about them as soon as they turn the corner, but at least you’re putting in the effort.
Cut out the distractions.
Modern relationships of all stripes face additional strain from the relentless presence of 21st century distractions. We’ve all been there before: You’re out to dinner with your friend and suddenly she’s looking at her phone, and it’s like there’s an impenetrable wall between you. Or suddenly she’s lifting her napkin up over her face, and it’s like where is she? Seriously. Where did she go? She’s gone. Should you call 911? Oh my God, there she is again. This is some serious emotional whiplash, so take the phones and napkins off the table!
Do a fun activity together.
If you’re no good at texting or talking, maybe a direct conversation isn’t the right forum for you to connect with your boon companion. Instead, suggest a fun activity you can do together, such as your pal partially covering themself with a cloth so you can begin to reconcile the notion that not directly sensing someone’s presence doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned baby. Yes, bitch! Next stop, maid of honor duties.
So try out these tips and don’t beat yourself up over imperfect friendships; life is harder for those of us who can’t do texting, talking, or object permanence. That doesn’t mean you need to radically change who you are or “seriously see a doctor because something is wrong in a real way.” Happy bonding!