About 6 months ago a friend of mine suggested the idea of regular friendship meetings. At first I thought the idea was absurd as if we did not talk. Then I really thought about the concept and I was sold. I understood my friends and I spoke but it was not in great depths about personal things or concerns.
The meeting took place over the phone on a conference call. I have two best friends so there is no problem with an abundance of voice on one call.
Once the day finally came we discussed obvious things first such as our distance from one another. Currently the three of us all dwelt in different areas of the Midwest. We saw one another a couple times annually however it was rare that the three of us were ever in exactly the same place at once.
Each one of us took the opportunity to give a brief overview of what’s been happening in our lives especially in regards to education and work. However my profession is in mental health and my friends work in the corporate world.
Later in the conversation we moved on intimate and romantic relationships. Only one of the three people had a boyfriend at the time and the relationship was kind of rocky. Unfortunately they ended up breaking up after but it was helpful that we both were there to hear her during her personal crisis.
Friendship meetings may be something easy and it might appear unnecessary. Having a formal friendship meeting sets time aside from things like what to wear, where to party or purchasing from the more emotionally charging aspects of a friendship. Although it may be more common for females to have friendship meetings men are definitely encouraged to do the same. Here are a few rules for friendship meetings to keep in mind when approaching your friend(s) with the idea:
1. When? Pick a time that the assembly will take place. Do not select a time that’s inconvenient for any of your buddies. Bear in mind this is democracy the time should be agreed upon by all participants.
2. Who? I recognize that most of us have many friends. Therefore they might be a group of friends that do not mesh well. For this reason select the friends which are really close to one another. To put it differently, your friendship meeting should be with people that actually know and like each other. If you have more than one friend group consider having more than 1 friendship meeting with diverse groups based on institution.
3. Where? Select a neutral location. If you have your friendship meeting in person it may be better to have it at a neutral place just like a restaurant or coffee shop. This way if something offensive or sensitive comes up nobody will feel attacked. Sometimes a convention or 3-way call is justified if you and your friends live a good distance from one another.
What will be discussed? Feel friend to come up with an agenda ahead of time if you wish. This does not have to be written down or in rock but its great to have an idea where the discuss will be going to stop tangents and random talks. Remember a friendship meeting has a purpose or schedule unlike those days when you go shoot pool or shop on a Saturday afternoon.
5. How long? I am imagining a meeting can go anywhere from 1hour to infinitely many hours.
Communicate openly. Speak you mind publicly and take possession of your ideas and emotions with “I” statements. By way of example, I feel left out when you do not spend some time with me. Making a statement such as, “You make me feel bad”, can be very offensive and lead to problems.
Take turns. Do not talk over your friends. Give each person an opportunity to express his or her ideas and feelings openly without interrupt. Taking turns to speak is a very respectful gesture towards friends and family members.
Friendship meetings can go well or they may be a disaster. Though some relationships may not require friendship meetings bear in mind there doesn’t have to be an identified for a friendship meeting to take place. Practicing open communication with your friends strengthens the connection and creates an alliance that’s irreplaceable. If things ever get rough around the edges you and your buddies already have format and pattern for communication and talks through friendship meetings.