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Quality Time with Friends vs. What Looks Like Quality Time on Social Media

This world we live in is FULL of what looks like amazing experiences with friends via photos on social media. But is it really feeding true friendship if you're only doing it for the pic? For the Instagram Likes? For the jealousy of your friends? What kind of friendships are we truly leading if we can't even spend quality time with the people we claim to love without NEEDING a post-worthy pic for affirmation? I've been thinking about this topic for awhile now. Wondering how I can change this aspect in MY life. How could I work towards high quality friendships that DESERVE a picture on Facebook..?

Well, we are all forever learning, but there are a couple changes I've implemented that have wreaked noticeable benefits on my friendships. One being, reaching out weekly/frequently just to make sure the friend/person knows that they are on my mind, and that they are valued in my life therefore I am willing to make the effort to show them support when they don't necessarily expect it. Sometimes this leads to long conversations and sometimes it ends at "Thank you!", either way, the person understands that I'm here, thinking about them, offering my time if they ever want it! That quick text message reminds them that I'm in it for the long haul, and if they had any doubt whether I was concerned about their well-being, they now know that I do.

Another great way I've altered my friendships for the better is by thinking *long and *hard about activities that we would truly enjoy verses the same old shopping/dinner/movie bit. Instead of leaning on activities that I'm comfortable with, I've tried to find more "memory-maker" (if you will) activities that promote putting the phones down and just living in the moment with the people I love. (Some examples: Camping, kayaking, sitting face to face at a coffee shop *actually *listening to each other talk, doing crafty activities at home (we've been hooked on making candles lately), dancing, traveling, walking around the neighborhood, etc.) There are a million and one options but I encourage everyone to think deeper about what would be a fulfilling and memorable activity for you and your friends. It can really make the difference when you don't have that much time to be together anymore (I miss college), quality over quantity, always.

Another change I've (tried!) to make the past year is giving better thought out (not necessarily more expensive) gifts for birthdays/holidays. A thoughtful and personal gift can show someone that you've truly been listening when they speak, you actually KNOW them, you listen to their needs, and basically, that you care about them enough to think hard about what you want to give them. I've found that if I take a few minutes to think about what a friend truly likes, it's pretty easy to come up with a kindhearted gift that means more than that pair of sunglasses from Target.

Example: For Christmas last year I found a company online that printed blankets with names on them in the shape of a heart, I ordered one for my mom ($60.00) and had them put every member of our families name on the blanket (simple, took 10 mins), SHE CRIED. The extra 2 minutes I took to think of a personal/thoughtful gift instead of the repetitive bird house/gardening equipment brought her to actual TEARS! $60.00 for a personalized gift that brought her to tears verses $100 worth of junk will always be worth it. It is definitely worthwhile to think of a gift that will mean more to the person than just the value of the gift itself.

No doubt is it hard to keep friendships going strong when you're probably all scattered across the U.S., but would I rather have strong friendships that are worth the effort or a bunch of fake Facebook photo friendships? Let's try to be purposeful with our time and friendships. It doesn't take $1000 or 1000 days to work towards higher quality friendships. As I get older... I realize the saying "It's the little things" becomes more and more noticeably true. I hope to continue building more meaningful friendships and that one day I can say "all my friends know I love them and that they mean the world to me".

For now friends,

Simply Niki

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