I recently received the following text message in the middle of the workday, “Hey Lisa! I could use a few minutes of your time when you get a moment. Slightly time sensitive. I’d like to get your opinion on something. Let me know when you can talk. Thanks!” I immediately picked up the phone and called this friend. We talked through a dilemma that he was struggling with that had implications not only for him but for those he cared deeply about. More than once in the conversation, he said things like, “I hadn’t thought about that” and “that’s a breakthrough for me to be able to know, for myself, the answer to that question.” All told, the conversation lasted 20 minutes.

I could be writing this blog to share with you how profound the conversation was for my friend. Instead, this is a blog about me. You see, at the beginning of this year, as part of my process of setting my intentions for the year, I had recognized that my relationships with my friends are very important to me. Yet, these tended to be among the last that I prioritized. I’m sure there was a bit of the mindset, “they’ll always be here. I’ll get to them when I have more time.”

And, so, over the course of this year, I have been intentional about making time to be with friends and working to be fully present when I was able to see them. To be honest, this is definitely a work in progress for me! My 2022 plan around this was to slowly begin reaching out to friends and to schedule time with them. In other words, “Hey, let’s have dinner together in 3 weeks when it fits on both of our calendars.” And, I actually think I’ve done a fairly good job at this. Two measures of success are (1) the relationships I’ve deepened and (2) my desire to rekindle other relationships. I’m already thinking about how I can grow this facet of my life in 2023.

But, it wasn’t until I was chatting with my husband about the text message and subsequent call that I realized the fundamental change that has begun to take hold. At the beginning of 2022, my vision statement as it pertained to my friends was that, “My friends know they can count on me for all things great and small.” 

By all accounts, this year was as busy – if not busier – than any I’d had in recent years. So, when thinking about how to enact this vision in a way that would allow me to see progress and momentum (rather than setting myself up for failure and frustration), I’d settled on the “let’s plan a date” method. And, by keeping this intention front and center, I’d ended up with something even richer.

To be clear, I hadn’t thought about my intention when I received the text. I hadn’t said to myself, “You said you wanted your friends to be able to count on you. So, you’d better do this.” Instead, this small act that I couldn’t have fathomed a year ago, came naturally to me. I am glad I was able to be there for my friend and, at the same time, the gift he gave to me by sending me this text and allowing me to see just how far I’d come is priceless.