On friendship and getting better at it

A quiet week led me to thinking about friendship and how I can learn more about it. W- and I are both introverted and we spend most of our time at home. I need to make a deliberate effort to get together with people. Otherwise, it slips off my radar.

Why am I thinking about this? I see the close friendships my mom has developed with my ninongs and ninangs (godparents) and with people throughout the world. I think about the laughter and openness of my barkada (clique of friends) back home. I reflect on Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics and what he shares about friendship. It’s a good thing. It enriches life.

I plan for the long-term when it comes to finances. I can certainly invest the time and effort into developing something deeper and more important than that. I know that if I’m left to my own devices, I’m probably not going to make much progress, so deliberate action is worthwhile here.

I have friends. I’m also aware that I don’t get to see those friends very often. There’s a bit of asymmetry, too, which I thought about again at Lotusphere. It’s easy for people to know about the significant events in my life, and even the day-to-day details. I don’t have that same sense of awareness about a lot of people, and I’d like to develop it.

There are so many people I’d like to get to know further. I want to help make their lives a little better. I want to help them ask interesting questions. I want to learn from what they’re learning along the way. It gives me pleasure to think about them and to hear about their lives. Even focusing on people I already know will give me plenty of opportunities to learn about friendship – and then there are all these fascinating people I have yet to meet. In other words, it’s not you, it’s me. =) I can work on me.

Thank goodness many people use Twitter and Facebook to share what’s going on. The fragmentary nature of these streams mean that I get glimpses into other people’s lives, but they’re interleaved with other updates. I sometimes find myself flitting from update to update without a deeper sense of each individual person.

So I’m thinking of working on this from two aspects: online and in-person.

Online, I’m trying out tools like Gist that give me a social dashboard which aggregates news, organizing it by person. I set aside time to think about other people, learn more about what’s going on in their lives, take notes, and reach out. I set aside some money for the little differences I can make in people’s days. I switched to a phone plan that includes international text messages, too. I’m also going to more regularly check and respond to personal mail (hi!).

In person, I’m deliberately looking for experiences I want to share with other people, and for opportunities to learn more about people’s interests. This is a bit more of a stretch for me because I like spending time at home and I hardly ever eat out. (I once attended a New Year’s Dinner and found myself thinking I could host a decent party for the cost of my meal.) I’ll probably start with movies and opera, and maybe look into setting up lunch or coffee with people.

Have you worked on learning more about friendship? Have any thoughts to share?

Twenty-three years and two strikeouts

You just can’t win them all, I guess. As warm and fuzzy as other
people feel about me, there are people who would really rather not
hear from me again. I’ve tried pinging them a few times, but now I’m
getting definite get-out-of-my-life replies. I might check back in
another decade. In one case, I really messed up, but that’s part of
life. I didn’t hurt him as much as I hurt some other people before,
who had forgiven me and come around to being one of my best friends.
In another case, I don’t understand what he’s having such a hard time
with, but oh well.

At the very least, this is a good way to learn how to deal with
rejection. I need to develop a thick skin, anyway. And as Kathy Sierra
said in Creating Passionate Users, until or unless you’re willing to risk passionate hate, you may never feel the love.

Random Emacs symbol: tibetan-tibetan-to-transcription – Function: Transcribe Tibetan string STR and return the corresponding Roman string.

Secret Santa exchanges the Web way

Elfster makes it easy to set up Secret
Santa gift exchanges. It automates signing up, drawing people, and
even anonymously asking questions. Here’s the one I made for one of my
barkadas. (Small group because everyone had to know everyone else
well…)

Christmas is about love, not shopping. ^_^ So let’s have a letter
exchange! Instead of scouring tiangges looking for the perfect gift
that’ll fit into your already tight budget, write a nice, long, warm,
heart-felt letter instead. Also, make one New Year’s Resolution and
dedicate it to your recipient. We could all use a little help in
keeping _those_… =)

Incidentally, the organizer can rig it. I didn’t, though. ;) It would
be fun to have it randomized. Of course, nothing’s stopping us from
writing letters for _everyone_, if we feel particularly diligent… =)

Check out Elfster and set up your Secret Santa gift exchange soon!

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