I was in line ordering at a fast-food restaurant and was asked if I wanted to supersize my order.
“No, thank you,” I replied. My favourite is my favourite for a reason. But that exchange got me thinking.
I was reading about what I can expect as an older adult and how I could better prepare for my 70s, 80s and beyond. Many of the suggestions were about planning and prioritizing what is important to me.
The importance of healthy relationships was one of the critical areas to consider.
Relationships can be divided into four categories:
- Acquaintances – I don’t know them well, but I know their first name
- Casual friends – occasionally meet for coffee or go for a walk or to an event
- Close friends – want to spend time with regularly
- Intimate friends – folks who know your inner thoughts and feelings, hopes and fears
In my last employment before ‘Movin On,’ there was one guy whom I got along with. It was at the acquaintance level but with the potential for more. Unfortunately, I was a Program Manager, and he reported to me. I never mix my role-hats at work, so we stayed as co-workers.
I went to this fellow’s office on the day my resignation was public knowledge. I asked if he was interested in a friendship-type relationship after I officially left my employment. He immediately said yes.
That was almost two decades, and my wife and I still get along well with him and his wife. Our mutual friendship even included a live music trip to Austin, Texas. Still very memorable.
I had supersized my relationship.
As I move through the various stages of life, relationships start and end. Some suddenly, others tend to fade away. Yet it is essential to have a variety of relationships. One of the quickest ways to do this is to look at all the four kinds of connections to understand which ones could be supersized to the next level.
This takes courage as I need to make the first move. As an older adult, I know I don’t have as many years ahead of me as I had in my youth. I don’t want to spend time wandering ‘what if.’ I’m listening to my ‘Say Yes More Often’ bumper sticker. The rewards of relationships that are close in nature are priceless.
Please give this a bit of a think. Do you know somebody in one of the categories of friends that could be supersized – bumped up to a higher category, to a deeper relationship? Now for the courage. Is it worth the risk to find out if the other person is also interested?
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think below.
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2 thoughts on “Supersizing Friendships”
I often feel that I am a loner because I enjoy my own company and I don’t need to have a friend go with me to a function.
After doing some reading on the subject I’m happy to learn that I’m not alone, that 1 in 5 report that they have no close friends. It sounds so sad. In more recent years I’ve found myself pushing to enquire after the health, family and trivial details of peripheral friends. Recently at the school where I work I made an effort to talk with a woman who recently lost her husband. We were outside during lunch recess supervision and eventually started to share personal details of our lives. Despite our cultural and religious differences we actually shared a lot in common. I would listen to her struggles and she in turn would hear mine. And we would laugh so much at the absurdities in our respective lives. She told me more than once that she always felt better after talking to me and it made me feel that perhaps this was why friendship can never be undervalued. My plan is to stay in touch with her when school is out for the summer.
What a wonderful journey you are on. Bon Voyage!