Maybe find a better place to hang out than the hood of an old truck. That seems uncomfortable.

My husband and I just had a fantastic dinner party and hang-out with some good friends of ours. I made sous-vide pork tenderloin with rosemary and apples, which we ate just before launching into a tactical game of Ticket To Ride all the while sharing inside jokes and updating each other on the goings-on of our lives. They left later than they usually do and I think we all felt very grateful to have caught up. Why am I telling you this? Because we made plans for this visit in the last few days. I didn’t do a huge deep clean of the house (if you guys are reading this, sorry, them’s the breaks). The meal (despite sounding very fancy) only required I go to the store to buy one extra ingredient and it wasn’t unpleasant to make. So why is that all significant?

Because it didn’t take much effort to see friends we’ve known for years and have a great time doing it. We didn’t have to go to great expense (in time or money) to do something we’ve been meaning to do for ages. I think a lot of people tend to overthink social gatherings and then put them off for fear of things not being perfect. But, just like deciding to have a baby, there is no perfect time. You’ll always have an improvement to make to your house, or a better meal idea, or a child who is going through a phase. And you are entitled to see your friends. Maybe it’s just the perfectionist in me, but I have a tendency to not let myself enjoy something until a bunch of other less pleasant chores and conditions are satisfied, even if those aren’t immediately do-able. Ok, maybe that’s also just good self-control. But regardless, I think it’s safe to say we need to do a better job collectively of reaching out to friends and family in real life.

It’s very easy to fall on the crutch of social media to fill the gaps in our friendships. I can only assume this is equally as true for those of us with children as it is for those of us without. Possibly even more so. But, hey, you know what else is easy too? Seeing their faces in real time. It really doesn’t take much to reach out and ask if someone is free and meet them for coffee. Or dinner. Or a play date with your little ones at the park. If you make it a priority to visit with friends, it’s easier to find time to make those visits happen.

Friends Are Important

I’ve heard people describe phone calls as intrusion. I shudder to think what they make of real-life visits. Connecting in person shouldn’t be an imposition. And the pay-off is huge: laughing together; challenging each other with interesting ideas; sharing delicious food; learning facts or skills about things you’d never normally come across. (Seriously, who knows that many obscure medical facts about hydroceles?!). You don’t need a fancy dinner or a pristine clean house to spend time together. And you don’t need to Instagram or tweet anything. Just enjoy it. And while you’re at it, maybe you want to make that a new year’s resolution! You won’t regret spending time with the people you love and you’ll be a better person, partner, and parent for it.