I have 2,444 friends on Facebook but just 8 whom I’d call in an emergency.
And yet, it’s been a few months since I’ve spoken to most of them.
In this Tedx video, Shasta Nelson shares the 3 ingredients for meaningful friendships.
Rating these 8 friendships against the 3 ingredients, it became clear that I was consistently scoring poorly on, well, consistency.
And I hate scoring anything below As. #aznpride
To be more consistent, I’m starting with remembering birthdays.
Why? Because I’m not great with numbers. #notsoaznafterall
Barely after managing to commit my passport number to memory, I’ve already had to renew it (ie, it only took me 5 years…)
There’s a specific kind of feeling shitty that comes with realizing I’ve missed the birthday of someone I care about.
It’s a kind of cold knot in the stomach accompanied by a violent face palm, plastering a sweaty “oh shit I hope they didn’t notice” to my forehead.
But of course you’d notice if a bestie doesn’t say happy birthday, even if you don’t say anything about it.
When it comes to friend’s birthdays, shamefully I rely on the serendipitous notification on Facebook, or jumping on the bandwagon in WhatsApp group chats.
That’s probably okay for the majority.
But these are my most important friends, and I want to treat them as such.
I want to put time into a meaningful gift that will delight them on their special day.
Not just a hurried text of “eh pai seh, buy you a meal later can?” which smacks of no effort.
Thankfully there are more ways to remember than memory.
My tool of choice is Google calendar.
I created a calendar “Remembering birthdays” which overlays my primary one.
Here, I simply input birthdays as annually recurring events.
My ‘second brain’ will now remember ALL the birthdays!!
I also added others where I felt more of the 3 ingredients could deepen our relationship.
People who’ve left a positive mark on me but whom I don’t see anymore, like past schoolmates and colleagues.
The kind of person I’d describe with, “I really like x. We could be best mates if we had more time.”
So, why not make the time at least once a year?
(Facebook is really useful for getting birthdates!)
The wonderful thing about birthdays is that it’s a completely legitimate reason to reach out.
Whenever someone unexpectedly gets in touch with me, it feels like a cold call.
I automatically get defensive, like:
“Hey Sonia! How’s it going!”
Me: “Yes, hello, what do you want….”
It feels even weirder if the other person just wants to chat:
“Oh nothing I just wanted to say hi”
Me: “Uhhhhh…. #creepy”
On birthdays, both receiving and giving a birthday wish feels completely natural.
And if you keep the 3 ingredients in mind, a birthday wish has the potential to lead to a deeper connection.
Together with the annual consistency, add a big serving of positivity! And a dash of vulnerability!
By remembering birthdays, I know for sure I’ll be in touch at least once a year in a meaningful way.
How are some ways you cultivate the three ingredients?
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I can’t promise anything life-changing, but I can promise lols, bad puns and honesty.