By Diane Gage Lofgren & Margaret Bhola
Earlier this month, Margaret and I spoke to some 800 women at the USC Women’s Conference in Los Angeles. Afterwards, as we signed books for attendees, several women indicated they were buying books for their moms. These women expressed anxiety about their mothers getting older with few friends to fill their lives. They were sincerely worried about the loneliness their mothers, in their 70s and 80s, were feeling.
Without being intentional about making new friends and keeping the old, we can find ourselves suddenly friendless at the very point we need friends the most. And it’s not just older women who face that predicament. We get so caught up meeting life’s demands of the moment, that taking stock of our friendships simply doesn’t cross our mind. Busy lives can keep us thinking that we have a safety net of friends who will be there for us if all hell breaks loose. Our distractions can also keep us from tending to this vital part of our health and happiness.
As we spoke, several tweeted our signature question, “If your life fell apart today, who are the first three women you’d call?” Many attendees said it made them think if they really did have women they could lean on, confide in, or call upon to help them get over, get through, and get beyond. Several told us afterwards that they were no longer going to leave friendships to chance.
That made our hearts sing! We can lure ourselves into thinking, “We’ve got that friendship thing handled.” But ask yourself, “When’s the last time I called, texted, or emailed my good friends to check in? How long has it been since I made time to do something just with a friend? Got away for a day or a weekend with my girlfriends to deepen our connections?
You can’t just get friends on demand, like hot water from a tap. The time for being intentional about creating and sustaining meaningful friendships is now. Stop waiting for circumstances to be right. Shun the “I’m too busy” excuse. Fit in friends and feel the blessings flow!