Gaming #FriendsForLife

Friends Play Games

We wound the winter hills of upstate New York. They were wonderful to see again. It was the 40th birthday of a long-time friend. To celebrate, we rented a house for the weekend in the middle of nowhere. Twenty people gathered, most of whom had become friends decades before. With them came copious amounts of games. The house filled with dice, cards, and game pieces.

There are benefits to playing games. Improved memory. Mental health. Lower blood pressure. Less stress and better immune system. Friendship increases your sense of belonging. It can make you happier, improve self-esteem, and help you cope with trauma. So let’s call a weekend with gamer friends a proving ground for life.
 
Between turns, taking walks, or during meals, the depth of camaraderie was clear. How familiar each person was with each others’ lives. There were conversations about the state of the country or sports. But these were secondary to touching base about events, extended family, future plans. By name. By subject.
 
And each others’ children. They have known each other with the same familiarity as their parents. Separated by geography and time, but connected by experiences and communication we’ve created.
 
We met our friends across the country only 10 years ago. Our relationship was the youngest of these. We’ve moved, gotten older, and built our lives in many different directions.
 
And life, as it turns out, is overwhelming. We explore our world with little assurance about what we’ll discover. We kick stones, throw sticks, climb trees, and poke holes. Mistakes will be made.
 
I’m thankful we’ve remained connected, and our friendship is now added to others. To quote Matthew Kelly…
 
“We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose, and challenge us to become the best version of ourselves.”
 
So hold onto your friends. 
 
They’re game changers.

 

HOW TO KEEP FRIENDS CLOSE? 

Been a while? Lost contact? Did life get in the way? Reach out! The people I know who have the most robust network of friendships, do the following well…

 [ ] Reach Out Spontaneously & Intentionally

When they cross your mind, just pick up the phone. Use LinkedIn to make sure they cross your mind. Take advantage of whatever works to remain on each others’ minds. And if it’s been a while, take this time to refresh the conversation.

 [ ] Create Stories Together

History matters. It’s shared experiences, good and bad, that cements relationships. So make the moments happen. Like renting a house together for a weekend. Planning a travel adventure. A meal or drink when you’re anywhere near enough to swing by.

 [ ] Listen, Reflect, & Remember

People know they’re important to you when they can tell you care. There’s nothing that affirms this like seeing you hang on their every word. Reflective listening sends the message you’ve understood. And bringing it up later is like, “Wow! They really care.”

 [ ] Repeat

If they’re worth keeping in your life, they’re worth doing it over again.

 What else? Please comment. I’d love to add your advice…

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