I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Friend Challenge

The bird a nest,
the spider a web,
man friendship.

~ William Blake ~

Hi, my name is Jenness Walker, and as you probably already know, I’m a list-a-holic.

It’s true. I write them. I lose them. I write more. I add things just so I can cross them off in five minutes. At work, at home, in the car…I have lists everywhere. Partly because I’m busy. Partly because I’m disorganized and need something to keep me in line. Partly because I feel a compulsion to write something—anything—all the time.

But sometimes I get caught up in making lists and checking them twice (or, um, losing them) and forget that relationships deserve my time, too. My solution? They’re going to be added to my list. J But I have a feeling this one thing will have more return dividends than most of the other items.
Here are some things I’m working on:

~ Make one phone call a month to someone I haven’t talked to in a while.

~ Send one hand-written letter/card a month to someone who has blessed me over the years.

~ Send one Facebook message a month to an old friend I need to catch up with. No having to look up
an address or anything on this one. How easy is that?

~ Organize a girls’ outing every month—from something as simple as a quick fun for Frosty Floats that we drink in the car while me and my bestie talk, to a dinner and shopping outing with all my gal-pals.

This last one, I believe, is vitally important for us girls—not necessarily to keep friendships going, but for the sake of our sanity!
That all should be easy enough, right? The letter thing is the hardest, in my opinion. Something about hunting down an address stalls me every time. But I will persevere.

Meanwhile, is there anything else I should add to my list? Friendships are obviously very important to us here on the Ponderers’ blog. What do you do to keep your friendships alive?
A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often--
just to save it from drying out completely.
~ Pam Brown ~


  1. Well, this is rather convicting, especially since I've moved friends way down low on the priority list because I'm on major deadline right now.
    But I know I need my friends ... even if the deadline is drawing nearer and the edits are going a bit slower than planned.
    So ... what am I going to do?
    Stick with my original plan of one day a week for friends --deadline or no deadline.
    Wanna meet for lunch?

  2. Jenness~

    Wow. The more I get to know you, the more I see how much alike we are! As I wrote in a comment to Paula's post about specificity, before the car accident I was an obsessive list maker. Making the list was the best part of my day, and like you, if I accomplished something not on the list, I added it so I could check it off. It's almost like I needed "credit" for it, lol.

    So much about my life is solitary. I went from having my income depend on my ability to be social (hair stylist) to spending a lot of time stuck at home because of my health issues. It can be so depressing!

    I LOVE your friendship list!! I am looking forward to taking your friendship challenge. Since my list making obsession was knocked lose in the accident, I use my phone to remind me of things that need to be done. For instance, I already have an alarm that goes off every Tuesday at 1 pm to remind me to call and check in with my mom. There's no reason I can't set my phone to alert me to do the things outlined in your challenge.

    I am incredibly appreciative of my friends, and I know I would be nowhere without many of them. Thank you for reminding me to be intentional about letting them know what them mean to me.

  3. I love my friends, and there have been times in my life when I was not so good at balancing time with them with other stuff, like work and school. But now, I try to plan times to hang out, work out, and text them. I try to grab opportunities whenever I can!

  4. Jenness, I, too, am a listmaker. :) I LOVE your list for keeping up with important people in your life. I think I'm going to copy your list. :)

    I have a group of friends from church, and we get together to celebrate each other's birthdays and to encourage each other and to just have days of "girl time." It has enriched my life. :)

    I'm trying to be better about keeping in touch with friends I don't see all the time. :)

  5. I love your quotes & what a great pic. I make lists in my head, love exercising my brain and memory to keep them active, and feel so happy when each item is accomplished. God puts part of Himself in each friend--so grateful. Right now it's mostly emails, phone calls, FB as in-person isn't as possible, but those all mean a lot.

  6. Love your list, Jenness!

    The best tip for keeping in touch with a long-distance friend is mastering The Five-Minute Phone Call. It goes like this:

    Friend calls. "Hey, you got five?"

    If I'm really busy or about to head out the door, "Yeah, but I've only got five." Then, we may only talk about one topic. But sometimes, I'm on a cleaning spree and five minutes can turn into 20.

    Face it, one of the reasons you don't talk to long-distance friends is that you don't call unless you've got a lot of time to catch up, right? Short calls every week or two keep you caught up and your friendships close.

  7. Great idea, Roxanne! I'll have to remember that! I've got the cleaning-while-talking part down pretty well, though. My husband is grateful for long calls. lol

  8. Dee--The picture made me grin. I couldn't resist. :-)

  9. Jeanne, copy away! And there's something special about girls' night out, isn't there? If you need stress relief, that's almost a sure way to find it.

  10. Like Beth, your post is very convicting! I used to send cards to everyone...now not so often. And I know how important they are. I just received 2 beautiful notes from wonderful writer friends that just encouraged me so much. (thank you)

    And I like Heidi's idea of putting reminders on our phones.

  11. Heidi, the phone reminder is a good idea. I use the post-it note thing on my computer, but it's easy to overlook them sometimes. And my real post-it notes tend to get lost. :-)

    We need to get together more, girl. Wanna meet Beth for lunch?

  12. Thanks, Jenness, I can definitely relate. My task-oriented nature needs to be reminded about the importance of relationships. I even wrote a blog post about it back in 2010, but clearly, I needed this convicting reminder. Might even re-post my own entry again this summer for some additional accountability!

  13. Beth, sounds like you have a good system in place already, and sure--let's meet. You like Mexican? :-)

    Lyndsey, thanks for commenting! Good plan.

  14. Thanks for the reminder, Jenness! It's easy to let the cultivation of friendship slip. I think I'll give my friend, Shelly, a call soon!

  15. Inspiring, Jenness! I love getting together with friends I haven't seen forever and settling into our same old comfy friendship. But there's something special about getting a note, phone call, message in between get-togethers too. Great ideas!