Reach out and touch someone was a tagline for AT&T back in 1979 to increase long distance calls.
Staying in touch with friends in midlife is tough. The Mayo Clinic published, Friendships: Enrich Your Life and Improve Your Health, in April 2011 touting the benefits of friendships. Recently a person shared with me that despite hundreds of connections on LinkedIn, a healthy Twitter following and thousands of Facebook friends, she has never felt more lonely. Her candor took me by surprise, but before I could respond her phone beeped twice and she excused herself to respond to a couple of text messages. She continued our conversation barraged by ringers, buzzes and bells indicating text messages, new voice mail messages and e-mails. Finally, I asked her to power down, so we could finish our coffee in peace. My friend did not want to continue her conversation about the loneliness she was feeling, but her phone told the tale.
There is something about connecting with your friends outside of work either by picking up the telephone, actually sending a birthday card (imagine their surprise) or seeing each other face-to-face that cements a relationship that e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, your Google+ circles and LinkedIn connections cannot replace. I have all of the aforementioned technology and it is great—in moderation.
I have learned if I don’t manage the technology---the technology will begin to control me. So, there are boundaries---Facebook is for 80 friends at any one time. It allows me to share photos, keep up with friends and family members I don’t live near or our schedules don’t allow us to see each other frequently. Professional connections are part of my LinkedIn network. I try to know most of my 260+ connections personally. A few are friends of friends. Other LinkedIn connections are friends of the blog or professional acquaintances including some I have only met once at a conference or workshop. Then, there is Twitter—they are my blog connections. Many of the people I follow on Twitter or that are following me, I’ve never met. We may admire each other’s work or have a mutual professional or writing interest. For me, Twitter is not personal. It is an extension of Work, Careers and Jobs @ 40+. There are no Tweets of vacation destinations, great concerts or family news. Organizations may follow you on Twitter. I doubt the American Management Association or Diversity Journal wants know the finest gem of a gourmet restaurant I discovered in
I might suggest Joseph Decuis to my Facebook friends or to you (http://www.josephdecuis.com). Roanoke, IN last month.
That is part of my personal technology strategy. Everyone has to develop a system that works for them. According to the Mayo Clinic article investing time in strengthening friendships has a pay off in better health and a more positive outlook toward life. So, this week, call a friend and at least leave a voice mail. Give your friendships CPR and good feelings will flow both ways. You have 168 hours, make it a great week!