Reflecting on relationships

For my 25th year, I focused on building a wonderfully loving relationship with W-. We developed shared hobbies (cooking, photography), built shared experiences, and made home even smoother and more comfortable. We’re the sappiest, happiest, and luckiest couple I know, and I think we’re off to a great start. Over the next year, I hope to keep making this part of my life even more wonderful. This part of life doesn’t need radical improvements. Things are amazing already! Constant, gradual improvements will keep us growing.

I haven’t neglected my other relationships. I’ve come to look forward to weekly chats with my mom, and I love it when my dad drops in too. I occasionally hear from my other friends in the Philippines and in Canada. I’m missing something, though, and I’d like to focus on that for my 26th year.

I want the closeness of my childhood, when my sisters and I would make up games with each other, when I could make my mom melt and my dad laugh. I want to bring to that the awesomeness of being grown-up, of sharing different perspectives on the wonderful thing that’s life. I’m curious about the sisterhood in greeting cards and movies. I’m curious about how other people relate to their parents.

I want the closeness of my barkada, of a richly interlinked group of friends who are friends with each other, the kind of friends you share experiences with, grow up through life with, have ridiculously impenetrable in-jokes with. The people you laugh with until your sides split and your cheeks hurt, the people you cry with until someone says something that flips the situation around and you’re all on top of the world again. I want to develop new friendships, too, and bring people together for shared experiences. I’m curious about how other people keep in touch with friends over a distance or build friendships after university, when people no longer have the luxury of lots of time spent together while going through huge changes.

So that’s what I’ll explore for my 26th year. =) For my birthday, then, I’d love to hear stories and tips. Do you have great relationships with your family or your friends, particularly over a distance? Tell me what that’s like! What does it look like? What does it sound like? What does it feel like? How did you get started? How do you keep growing?

  • beaskneas

    Happy Birthday!

    My best friend has been in my life for 28 years. We don’t see eachother as often as we like, especially now that we’re both in relationships and have children.

    Several years back, we had a ‘new year’s resolution’ to make sure we saw eachother once a month, without fail. It was a lot of fun. (We’ve lapsed since then!).

    When we were still teenages, I made a “Friend Scrapbook” (before that was cool) and presented it to her as a Christmas present. It was filled with movie ticket stubs and restaurant receipts and pictures of all the things we had done over the past year (a double page per month).

    My suggestion would be to establish a standing date to foster those friendships and create either a scrapbook or an online memory ‘book’ of some of your friend memories.

    Have fun!

  • I’d love to know more about the word barkada. What is its origin? I can read the meaning from context, and I’m glad to know their is a word to refer to that tight-knit group of friends.

    My own experience is that most people, after they turn 25, get serious about their careers, which gets in the way of the kind of closeness that one might have known at 18, perhaps at school. What I see, instead, is that kind of closeness arising mostly through working together. I’ve several friends who went into web design or computer programming, which is the field where I work, and enjoy pulling them together to work on a project whenever there is a big contract. Having a reason to talk everyday is also a good way to keep a good team together.

  • For keeping up with friends at a distance I’ve found facebook to be invaluable. There is something really amazing about how a little comment on someone’s status or picture can help refresh the relationship just a little bit at a time.

    There are so many people that I wouldn’t have kept in touch with from high school or college otherwise, but little comments here and there on facebook still make me smile when I see them.

    Otherwise, some advice that I’ve been given before about building and maintaining relationships is to be an ‘inviting’ person. It seems like you’ve found lots of interests that you’re passionate about, so invite people along to share them with you. Think about the interests that you’re friends have… maybe you know a friend who does ballet – invite yourself along to a class and see what it’s like.

    As for meeting new people, I think that the best way is to put yourself in situations where there are new people to meet. I’ve done that by taking classes. I’ve taken gymnastics, diving, dance, arial skills classes and I’ve met new people in all of them.

    Once you meet new people another piece of advice I’ve gotten is “to be interesting, be interested.” People, most people I’d believe, enjoy talking about themselves, so give them the opportunity. When they mention something that interests you, ask them more about it. That’s always seemed like a great way to get people comfortable with you, and I’ve found that there is a natural reciprocity that people start to feel… they’ll start asking you questions after.

    The last thing that I can think of is from my own experience. I tend to get very personal very quickly. So I won’t hesitate to ask particularly personal questions even when I don’t know someone very well. On occasion the other person is put off by it, but more often than not, they aren’t. When I ask a personal question I might qualify it “forgive me if you don’t want to talk about this but…”, but I’ll always use the inflection of my voice and my facial expression to let them know that it’s a safe place.

    There is a special kind of smirk that people give you when you ask them something that is more personal than most people would expect. When I see that smirk I know that they are happy I asked and that they are glad to be ‘allowed’ to talk about it.