One way to build and maintain...Healthy friendships
Scroll and ye shall find.
To be honest with you, if I didn’t have OOMPH and my blog to promote, I probably wouldn’t ‘exist’ on Facebook. Personally, I’m the sort of person who would abstain from social media — despite the peer pressure to be ‘connected’.
Note: I didn’t even sign-up to Facebook myself (nor did I want to). My manager, where I was working at the time (and who was seven years younger than me), did it on my behalf. She insisted that I needed it and was getting sick of asking me if I was ‘on it’ yet! Thanks a blimin’ lot, Bex. Sheesh…
To me, aimlessly scrolling through fb trying to find something worthwhile is the equivalent of ‘channel surfing’ on the television. It’s a mind-numbing, frustrating process that just leaves you feeling disappointed and unsatisfied.
Initially fb was offered as a way to connect Harvard students. As it became more popular, this network was extended to include other ivy league colleges. And then, to include various high schools. These days however, every man and his dog… and his business… and his dog’s business… has a Facebook account.
And, while the numbers of users on this forum have swollen tremendously, the way people interact on it hasn’t evolved at all! The whole FRIEND + LIKE thing is all still very high-school like… ‘Like’, you know what I mean?
Note: To me there should be an option to ‘acquaintance’ people – rather than to fully befriend them. I don’t like sharing my personal views and experiences with people I hardly know. (Unless of course I’ve been ‘drinking’…😎)
To navigate this network (so as to ensure my sanity), I developed my own ‘Facebook Guide’. (It’s kinda like how you use the TV Guide to select what’s relevant to you ahead of time.) This is how I use it:
1) To promote my ‘good health’ message on my business page, and to promote the environment and kindness on my personal page.
2) To FOLLOW1 the businesses and the causes that I genuinely support. I also FOLLOW my actual friends.
And obviously…this next one really goes without saying…
3) To enable me to stalk people 🤗
But enough about Facebook!
I’m only really using this social network as an excuse to segue into what I really want to talk about here:
Real & intimate social connections
Connections, that when formed, are good for your heart and are therefore good for your health in general.
Trawling Facebook makes me want to throw my mouse down in despair — much like I do with my TV remote when I can't find anything decent to watch!
While this might sound like a new 'Harry Potter' character — it's actually the sad reality.
The Minister for Loneliness is a position within the Government of the United Kingdom. (Established on 17 January 2018.) Tracey Crouch’s job is to resolve the social problems related to loneliness — a condition that can have harmful health repercussions. (Depression for instance!)
The UK government have found that social isolation and loneliness (defined as those who always or often feel lonely) affects more than 9 million people in their country. Prime Minister Theresa May called this “the sad reality of modern life” for too many people.
It would appear that the magic of SOCIAL media is doing little in the way of connecting us in a meaningful way…
To read more: Minister for loneliness UK
I'm so done with scrolling, searching, and surfing. Bring back scribbling & scribe-ing, I say.
Like friendships in the night
I’m ashamed to admit, that I have been relying on fb to inform me when my friends and extended family are birthdaying — as well as to also let me know what they are ‘up to’…
This method, up until now, has provided me with 1) a safety net of sorts, and 2) with a false sense of connection or continuity of friendship.
This method has actually convinced me that I don’t have to provide any extra effort. Because I already have a pretty-good idea what’s going on in their lives — I’ve already seen the edited version!
But who am I really kidding? Only myself.
I don’t really know these people anymore — not in the way I used to when I initially befriended them. (Generally, people only pop their ‘highlights’ up on fb.)
And as I said previously, I’ll be buggared if I can ever remember their birthdays let alone know what to get them as a gift! Because I’ll be honest and say I have no bloody clue what they’d actually ‘like’ anymore. I mean, I don’t know their favourite colour, their favorite scent, their favourite flower, their favourite ‘goodie’ or their favourite whatever…
And you know what? That makes me ‘a shitty friend’! I didn’t use to be! I used to be an ace friend. (Well, I’m still an ace friend to DMF — my partner, but that’s about it.) It makes me feel sad that I don’t really know my people anymore. I feel like everyone is slowly drifting apart — and we can’t even see that we are! If we’re not careful we’ll all end up on separate deserted islands… and wonder how the heck we got here.
This realisation makes me feel disconnected from the choice people that I’ve carefully selected to be part of my life. (Not just the ones that fb has suggested to me.)
Therefore, due to my newfound status as ‘a shitty friend’ I’m going to self impose an inter-friend-tion.2 To redeem myself, I plan to re-instigate the Friendship Book from the 80s — the original social networking platform!
Back in school, many of us made Friendship Books out of bog-standard, lined, school books — which we styled ourselves with various pasted cut-outs and clear or patterned contact (book covering). These books contained a series of personalised, handwritten questions that we wanted our good buddies to delight us with by providing answers for! When I was a kid/young teen, I remember passing around friendship books (and autograph books). And, I don’t know what was more exciting, being asked to fill one in, or waiting for someone to fill yours in? I still can’t decide…
Note: It seems odd to me now, that we had to do such things then. I mean, didn’t we pretty much know all that stuff about our friends anyway? They were the people with whom we whiled away the hours with endless chatter.
I reckon I could certainly do with a dossier on what is important to my favourite people now! And, in the process of collecting this data, let my friends know that they are important to me.
I can’t be the only one ‘faking it’, right? I can’t be the only one whose friends have turned into remote contacts? I can’t be the only one who knows more about their suggested friends than their actual chosen friends?
Who’s in this with me then? Who else wants to use this old-fashioned ‘social medium’ — the Friendship Book — to rekindle their intimate relationships with their best bosom buds?
You've got troubles, and I've got 'em too... You've got a friend in me.
Bring back the fancy felt-tip patterned borders, the scratch & sniff stickers, and the freaking glitter glue!
Well, maybe that’s a little bit over-the-top… But I must say, as a kid, half of the fun with Friendship Books was ‘styling-up’ your page.
What I’m most focused on now is finding out if my friends still like the same things they used to, and if not, what do they like now.
So — update me, my compadres!
(Stay tuned to receive a Friendship Form from me.)
Let me know who you’re listening to/what you’re watching/what you’re reading…what are you wearing…? Have you started any cool new hobbies? Which ‘star’ do you currently want to do ‘dirty things’ with — and what kinda things would you do to him or her?! 😉
You know, just the standard stuff.
I want to get to know you again!
Let’s reset & reconnect.
Full disclosure here:
My current totally shaggable ‘line-up’ is as follows (and in descending order of shaggability):
“Khal Drogo” from G.O.T
“Ragnar Lothbrok” from Vikings
“Lip” from Shameless (USA), and…
Jack O’Connell just the way he is…!
This is how I see this whole Friendship Book thing working:
01—Customise your friendship form/book
Choose the questions you want to ask and your style of presentation.
Note: You can just keep this super basic. It’s the sentiment more than anything.
02—PRESENT YOUR BEST BUDS WITH YOUR 'FRIENDSHIP BOOK
You get the information you require, and they get to feel loved & cared about.
03—OUTLINE THE REQUIREMENTS OF YOUR FRIENDSHIP BOOK
For example —
Please type in the answers into this electronic form and email back.
Please print out this form and handwrite the answers in – then scan and email back.
(If you post a form — or your book — to them)
Please fill in this form + decorate as you see fit using gloriously coloured felt-tip pens + generous amounts of glitter. Then post back.
Note: This would also be a good chance for them to reconnect with themselves also – quite therapeutic and fun!(As long as it’s not too long.) It’s actually nice to be asked about yourself for a change, rather than feeling compelled to over-share on Facebook.
04—APPLY SOME PRESSURE
Provide a deadline that your friend needs to return their contribution to you by. Because if you don’t receive this back in a timely fashion, you’ll then take this as a sign that they no longer love and care for you 😉
Note: Make sure it’s a realistic deadline as you don’t want to pressure people – everyone is so stoopid busy these days. Four-six weeks should be doable… otherwise something is VERY wrong in their world.
05—COMPILE & CONNECT
Collect all of your friendship pages and pop them into a scrap book or file of some description. (Unless of course you send out your book to your friends.)
Then thoroughly enjoy reacquainting yourself with your most favouritist people…! x
Don't you just love receiving personal post? To this day, it still brings me mucho glee.
I'll be there for you... when what?
You know the theme song to the long running television show, Friends, right?
As YOUR friend, I won’t be there when the rain starts to pour…
Because – hell (!) — I’ll be the one actually bringing the rain!
I’ll be there when there’s a god-damn fire — okay!
I’ll be the one rescuing your sorry ass from the flames…
Tell me a little about yourself
Let me help you with some questions to ask your mates.
To begin with, loosen your friends up by asking them some basic questions. I’ll answer a few of these questions myself… because I think it’s rollicking fun! (Judge me if you will.)
Also, don’t go overboard with your line of questioning, because it will stop being so much fun.
Name (and A.K.A if necessary):
Arrival on planet Earth:
(Day, date + time)
Chinese – Year of the:
(Be creative, please i.e. azure – the colour of the sky on a clear day)
(Be creative, please i.e. flaxen – of the pale yellow colour of dressed flax)
Mostly Facebook is about acquaintances and contacts — not friends. Real friends don't need Facebook to connect.
Fast & furious 'faves'
Fave swear-word (if different from fave word!):
Fave TV show/s:
Fave cartoon character:
Fave wine or beer:
Fave cocktail or spirit:
Fave place to eat:
Fave thing to touch:
Fave goodie (choc, cupcakes, lollies):
Fave treat (massage, facial, dinner reservations):
Fave place to travel to:
Fave country to live:
Fave time of the day:
Fave time of the year:
Fave time of your life:
Now, I'm just playing silly buggars...
Vegemite or marmite?
Margarine or butter?
Scruncher or folder (toilet paper)?
Lover or fighter?
Early bird or Night owl?
Cremated or buried?
Which side of the bed do you sleep on?
Which side of the couch do you sit on?
Spooner or spoonee?
Tell me more about yourself
Heck, you could go crazy with your line of questioning! But again, make sure you don’t actually do this — like I did during my first edit. You wouldn’t believe how many questions I culled…
Set yourself a question limit and keep your questions to your most curious. (You want to delight your friends, not annoy them…)
If you had one day to live, what would you do:
What inspires you:
What gives you the warm fuzzies:
Who would you ‘switch teams’ for:
What makes you laugh:
What makes you cry:
Best thing to hear:
What are you grateful for:
Your top 5 values (love, happiness, wealth):
Your top 3 beliefs (i.e I can do anything I want if I set my mind to it):
Your motto for life:
Best advice you’ve ever had:
I'm totally leaving you stranded here, buddy
The three things I would take to a deserted island:
(We’re in this together, my bestie. Where I go — YOU go x)
2) A lifetime supply of natural sunscreen
(Just in case we’re not found.)
(just in case we are found.)
Note: Ain’t no way I’m returning to civilisation with the requisite beard!
Here's my friendship form - use it if you wanna!
Here’s the Friendship form that DMF and I put together – for moi to distribute around mi amigos 🤩
So, please! 🤗
Feel free to distribute this same form amongst yours – and start sharing the love today! (There will be no excuses now.) xox
Good friends are good for your health
Just in case you’ve forgotten… Or, just in case you’ve never actually experienced this before…
Good friends love and care about you — and they are interested in you (not just in what you can do for them.)
Good friends support you and encourage you.
Good friends are open and honest with you.
Good friends are kind and generous with you.
Good friends are trustworthy and loyal.
Good friends have a positive influence on you.
Good friends really know you.
Good friends have your ‘back’.
Therefore, you need to give as good as you get; it’s important that you’re a good friend in return.