by Lisa Peri
Recently I’ve been thinking of the phrase “Make new friends but keep the old.” It came up as I was making hundreds of calls, texts, DMs, and emails while working on getting the word out about Friends of Annapolis Moms and the new quarterly publication we are creating called The Motherlode. My colleague remarked that it was amazing that I was still in touch with so many people from over the years.
How do we do that? In a society where we get excited by shiny new things and witness or engage in fights on a daily basis from keyboard warriors, how is it even possible to stay in touch and stay friendly in such a fast and divisive time?
Then, I really started thinking about Annapolis Moms! In Annapolis Moms, we work so hard to keep the peace and help people remain calm while discussing difficult topics. I always say that if we, as a group, made it through the Obama presidency and Trump, we can make it through anything.
I’d like to share some of the things I try (or at least strive) to do every day. I often fail, but I feel that if I strive to do these things and fall short… it’s still closer to what I’m trying to achieve. My goal is always to keep strong relationships with those I care about whether it be co-workers, friends, family, or even just people I’ve met who I enjoy, respect, or value.
- Try not to be reactive. Take a beat and calm down. Do I really need to respond to that text right away or can I wait so that when I respond, I can be more thoughtful?
- Apologize and acknowledge when I have messed up. Ownership of our shortcomings allows others to be more open as well.
- Don’t curse. We don’t allow cursing in Annapolis Moms because it truly puts people on edge.
- PICK UP THE PHONE!!! I cannot stress how a quick phone call can reconnect you with someone in a way that a text cannot. It can also de-escalate difficult situations and correct misunderstandings.
- Offer to help. I can’t tell you how many times people ask, “How can I help?” which is nice, but it puts the onus on the person needing help. Don’t ask, just do something. I promise you that it truly is the thought that counts.
- Set your calendar to remind you to reach out to someone. I’m 52 and have had a lot of careers and friends through the years. It’s easy to get caught up in your current life and forget to reach out to old friends. Set your calendar to remind yourself to give a call, shoot an email, DM, or text.
- Do the inviting! You don’t have to invite people to your house…you can meet up for a walk, dinner out, coffee, or anything really. Moms often tell me that they feel like they are the only ones inviting, and it makes them feel unwanted.
- Don’t talk politics! In Annapolis Moms, no one knows where I stand politically but many people assume that I am either a Liberal or Conservative. They say things that are incredibly insulting about the “offensive other side.” This happens constantly! The funny thing is that I don’t correct them, because I have not found those conversations to be fruitful. You may have no idea where people stand on issues but I can assure you, you may have lost a friend or colleague and not even realize it.
There’s no guarantee that these suggestions work, but they are a start. What do you have to lose and what do you have to gain? Consider picking one thing from the list and trying it out. Do these suggestions help you, like they have helped me, to make new friends and keep the old? 😊 It’s never too late to start!