Tips for everyday friending
August 14, 2019 3:24 PM   Subscribe

Do you have friends you communicate with every day? If so, what does that look like? How do you engage a lot without becoming boring or overbearing? (I hope this isn’t chatfilter! I would like concrete examples of what’s worked for you that I can apply to my own friendships. I know my mileage may vary. I am an adult human but sometimes I feel like I didn’t learn this stuff too well.)
posted by Argyle Road to Human Relations (18 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
I have a smartphone game I play with a friend. It’s a word game where you take turns playing, but there’s no time limit. There’s also a chat function. We play at least one turn nearly every day, and sometimes, if we are both not busy, a couple of whole games per day. The strength of this is that you can interact without the need to chat at all, or you can add a quick chat, or you can both be online at once and chat a lot. Low pressure and the ability to communicate “I’m thinking of you” without always having to have a conversation.
posted by Knowyournuts at 3:33 PM on August 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

We have a private Slack; we also actually use Twitter to chatter at one another instead of rage re-tweeting conspiracy theories and horror. Less frequently, I exchange quick texts.

Also, we have standing engagement for things like happy hours in conversation-friendly bars (e.g., first Mondays, last Thursdays) but that's not a daily communication, just an ongoing commitment to connect. This last one I think is really important. Knowing that at least once a month--if not more often--we're going to check in with each other to confirm same time, same place makes it easier to avoid the "we should get together sometime" trap of never actually getting together. I think the regularly calendared social event matters more than the daily chatting, to be honest.
posted by crush at 3:40 PM on August 14, 2019

I have a WhatsApp group with three good friends. It's rare that a day goes by without someone posting something, even if it's just a selfie of them doing something fun, or a quick line like "OMG I'm at the supermarket and the person in front of me is buying 30 litres of milk and eight pumpkins. What do you think she is making?"

I guess it's kind of how some people use Facebook, but with only the four of us instead of 50 million people, we all interact with each other pretty much every day. Yet unlike email or other 1-1 communication it doesn't feel quite as intense or such a big commitment as it might if it was just me and one friend.
posted by lollusc at 3:40 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have a chat group with 3 other friends. It used to be a WhatsApp group but we moved to Signal recently. We don't use it every day but most days someone will send a message to it. Last week when I got my water bill I asked them how much water they use on average to see if I was using too much. We're planning some camping trips in the fall and winter so there was a bit of chatting on that today. Sometimes there'll be some interesting (weird) news article and someone will send that.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:43 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have a small but active group text: three people total, at least a dozen texts exchanged on an average day, usually more. I would say it's 30% everyday bellyaching, 30% tweets or instagrams someone found funny, 30% miscellaneous (actual emergencies, requests for advice, panic attacks, LONG strings of jokes/riffing, pictures of cats or dogs). The truth is, I worry often that I'm becoming boring/overbearing (right now I'm away from home in a situation not entirely under my control, so I'm complaining/talking a lot more than the others), but in the long run, the person dominating the "everyday bellyaching and/or panic attacks" part of the map tends to switch off and balance out over time.
posted by babelfish at 3:51 PM on August 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

Male, mid 50s here who has a group chat with 3 other males that usually gets something posted to it daily.

Sometimes it is just a link to a sports article or something of interest to one of us and sometimes it is just a picture or a what's up. During pro football season, we spend Sundays, all day, like noon (or earlier if there is a London game) until midnight together. One of us has a pretty rad media room where we can watch up to 7 games at once. Sort of like a private sports bar. So, sometimes during football season the chat is used for logistics such as me writing that I am bringing the sammies from Arthur Avenue or do we need more Bourbon or are your kids coming today?

Mostly, the daily communication is simply short and something that makes us all think about the group. A lot of lockerroom ribbing too. One of us (NOT ME) is a MAGA hat wearer so we give him all sorts of shit all the time. One of us (maybe me) got a picture of taking a dump on a green at Trump's course in Briarcliff. A pile of human shit with the pin flag lying next to it so you can see both the Trump National flag and the steaming pile of shit.

Sometimes it is along the lines of, "Anyone have a chainsaw? I have a huge branch blocking my driveway." or, "Anyone know of a good college counselor that can help my moron kid write an essay that hides the fact they are a moron."

Mostly, it is just everyday small thing patter.
posted by AugustWest at 4:00 PM on August 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

1. Group texts
2. Sending a text to someone specific if I'm thinking of them. Like if I had a dream about them or found a book they might like. Could be daily, could be monthly.
3. Dinner or happy hour with some friend or friends at least once a week. I cook dinner a lot so will invite over people whom I know aren't Keen to cook for themselves.
4. Random other outings every two weeks or so, such as pub trivia.

These won't necessarily all be the same friends for each event.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:10 PM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

We are on, of all places, Hangouts. I think asynchronous communication is important here, because that means it can fit into your schedule rather than you having to work it in.

We do, however, usually see each other for several days about three times a year.
posted by praemunire at 4:23 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I agree with small group text. A group text with 3-6 people works well as long as no one person is texting tons per day. If you’re busy, then you might not respond that day but a few other people will. Larger than that and you get the group texts where it turns into a busy chat, which isn’t ideal, at least for me.

For my close friends who aren’t part of a larger group, I communicate with them a few times per week because I’m texting once in a while, emailing once in a while, and liking their instagrams.

Growing up, I remember my mom spending hours per night talking on the phone with her same 5-10 friends. I can’t imagine that these days!
posted by sallybrown at 4:51 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Group chat on facebook messenger. There are actually 9 of us, which sounds like a lot, but we all chat on there daily, 5 of us chattier than the other 4. We are all very good friends, and nobody is significantly closer to any one person, which makes it feel even and equal.
posted by gaspode at 5:59 PM on August 14, 2019

I live in a small community with several people who don't use the internet very often. We call each other or stop by to check in, make plans, keep each other posted on what we're up to that day or the next day. It's mostly practical stuff that we talk about. We often have group dinners and outings and we also coordinate trips to town so whoever is going can pick things up or run errands for others. Many people work at the same places so if someone cant make it, another can fill in.

I also live part of the year in a big city, and I see my friends there much less often because our schedules dont allow for more frequent interactions. though we do chat via text every week or so, it's not as regular as here where we all see each other and interact in person more.

I think it depends a lot on how your friendships work in your daily life and how often your friends like to communicate.
posted by ananci at 6:41 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have a close friend who, after her divorce, one day mentioned she missed having someone to say goodnight to. So I said, I’ll say goodnight to you! So we started texting a “how was your day/good night” message to each other daily. We have stayed in the habit, give or take a day here or there. We often see each other during the day too, so might not text if we have just seen each other, but otherwise we do usually touch base at least once a day, sometimes long involved conversations, sometimes just a quick good night or greeting. Obviously this is only suitable for very close friends!

The two of us are also part of a larger friend circle (6) with a Messenger group chat that is usually active at least once a day. It’s often people sharing personal photos or things they saw online that they thought were funny or interesting. Sometimes people share news. We all live in the same town and see each other semi regularly, but one is moving across the country soon, so it’ll be a really nice way to stay in touch with her.

I also have a group text with two of my cousins. We usually exchange a text at least once a day. We share photos and just update about our day to day or extended family grapevine stuff. They share photos of their kids and pets and I share photos of our dog. We all knit, so we share knitting patterns and talk about our current projects, ask for advice, etc. Sometimes we vent about work or various things. One cousin’s child had cancer so she would update us about the child’s treatment and prognosis.

All these are asynchronous, though sometimes if people are on at the same time they’ll have a real-time chat. They all help me feel connected but in a low pressure way. I do see most of the participants in person except my cousins—we each live about 1000 km apart from each other.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:07 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

With one friend, we've got a nearly 1100 day Snapchat streak. Some days we'll definitely just snap a picture of a random wall to keep it alive, but mostly we snap each other animals we encounter and bad puns.

Otherwise with some other friends, it's a hodgepodge of WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook messenger, Hangouts, and text. It's gotten to the point where I forget who said what on which medium and get confused every once in a while, but it mostly works!
posted by astapasta24 at 7:38 PM on August 14, 2019

3 is a great number of people for a group text or chat- (or real life hangout actually). It lessens the pressure of just 2 people, and adds more energy, but without the million tangents of a large group. 4 is pretty good too but runs the risk of splitting into two pairs.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 8:35 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have a number of whatsapp groups with varying numbers of participants. I think the key to their longevity is the lack of pressure to participate. Sometimes they are very busy with lots of back and forth, and funny memes, and making plans. Sometimes they're quiet. There's no like rule that everyday we all have to talk.

With my close friends, I speak to them individually too, so I don't think of the group chat as a replacement for one on one communication.
posted by unicorn chaser at 5:32 AM on August 15, 2019

Texting is the best thing to ever happen to me. I have a friend that I text good morning and goodnight to every day, without fail. Most days we text during the day but if we didn’t, we would at least say Gmmf (good morning my friend) and Gnmf.
posted by lyssabee at 6:31 AM on August 15, 2019

Have a buddy who I keep in touch with most days. We text each other pictures of our pets and photos of our plants, plus random thoughts.
posted by Peach at 4:26 PM on August 15, 2019

I have a couple friends that I talk to on the phone once or twice a week. Not for a long time. we just call one another randomly and if someone can't pick it up it's obviously no big deal. I'm in my late thirties, am often far away from people I care about, and drive a lot (have a decent set of earbuds with a mic, like the 15 dollar at Target ones).. I understand why synchronous communication isn't for everyone..but.. yeah... just wanted to throw my old school 90s style data point into the mix here.

I spend too much time looking at screens already, and I find keeping up with constant text based back and forth , while fun, really distracts me from focusing and getting things done ( lol.. arguably so does reading metafilter but what are you gonna do?) in the physical world around me. Using the old fashioned phone feature of the smart phone really helps avoid this issue, with the added bonus of hearing complex emotions in my loved ones' voices. if/when I'm busy or make new friends who are phone shy or averse I text but i also sometimes use imessage to send them audio messages/recordings bc.. why not?
posted by elgee at 3:44 PM on August 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

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