The Fine Art of Keeping Friends

The Modern Survival Guide #68

Pictured: Something that gets increasingly hard as you get older — getting more than three people together at once.
  • Set up recurring meetings
  • Have traditions
  • Show up for life events
  • Travel (if you can)


Keep in touch. This seems like the simplest thing in the age of high technology and social media, but it’s the difference between feeling like you’re able to reach out to someone and being afraid to pick up the phone. Seriously — how many friendships have you had slip aside simply because it wasn’t convenient to talk to someone for a while, and then you didn’t know what to say, and then it just felt awkward to reach out? I think for most people, the answer would be a significant number.

Recurring Meetings

It’s an interesting psychological tendency of human beings to treat things as more “real” if they’re on a calendar. Strange but true for the majority of people, if you put an event down on paper it’s more likely to happen. So it follows that if you want to keep in touch with someone, having a recurring meeting date (like the 2nd Saturday of every month, or something similar) is a very good way to make time to see them.


The concept of “tradition” is something of an anachronism in the modern cutting-edge disruptive worldview, but it is super important for maintaining long-term friendships. Traditions serve the same general purpose as recurring meetings, but with a dash of ritual thrown in that makes the experience “yours” in some meaningful way. This is basically one step up from just having a recurring meeting; sometimes these meetings turn into traditions.

Show Up for the Big Games

A lot of the time, you’ll know the difference between an acquaintance and a friend based on who shows up to the big events. Simple as that. The people who show up for your marriage, for your kid’s first birthday, for your dog’s quinceanera, or for whatever you judge your life’s important events to be — those are your friends.

Travel (If Possible)

Last but by no means least, when you can, if you can, travel to reconnect with far-away friends. If it holds true that your friends are the people who celebrate your life events with you, this goes double for people who will drive a few hundred miles just to hang out!

Letting Friendships Fall

To wrap up, I’m going to say something that is sad but true: we should actively choose to let some friendships fall by the wayside. As the old saying goes, some people are with you for a reason, some for a season, and some for life. Not everyone you meet is going to be your friend, and not every friendship is going to last forever, and that’s ok.

  • If you just don’t get along, drop ‘em.
  • If it takes lots of energy or stress to be around someone, drop ’em.
  • If they don’t want to be around you, drop ’em.

Searching for truth in a world focused on belief.

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