It’s 3 am.
And for some reason you are awake.
Now unless you are shuffling between your bathroom and your bed or wrapping up a night shift on the job, this is somewhat of an inconvenient time to be awake for many people. Our society is focused on daytime systems, and those with insomnia or major problems in the wee hours have a hard time with it.
That is, unless you have someone to depend on at 3 in the morning. Those folks are what I like to refer to as 3 am friends. I’ve been fortunate to never need a kidney or bone marrow, but these folks whether blood relation or not, would probably step up to the plate because they value our friendship, and they are just good people.
Millennials don’t seem to have a lack of friends as our social media apps describe us, but we may be feeling the effects of fluid friendships all too well. I use the term “fluid friendships” because I happened to have many friends as I went through school. I would not have characterized myself as popular; I define popularity by the number of people that seek to be your friend. I had friendships based on my ability to work within different circles and connect positively; I had to make an effort and got friendship as the reward. These friendships may not have had the depth of other friendships I’ve maintained, but I had a wide circle of people who would include me as a friendly person. As other Millennials have experienced the same situation, what will happen when we need someone at 3 am?
Taking a page from our predecessors, we should cultivate friendships throughout our lifetimes. Boomers and X-ers had to do social networking before social networks, and the connections people share over small things helped to build a community of support when larger needs arose. You could call this a survival strategy, or you could call it a common goal, but here are some tips to assist in building and maintaining those rare 3 am friendships:
1. Connecting has more to do with real connections than internet connections. Take time to acknowledge your friends with phone calls, cards, or gatherings. Social media isolates people, and the fun times are usually when you are hanging out together.
2. Learn to live in the now. Some friendships pick up right where they left off and others seem stuck in the past. Don’t hold onto past issues if a person seems ready to address things and move forward. Life feels much better when we have less emotional baggage to carry.
3. Be prepared for the unknown. Most times I reach out to folks, I can get through without too much issue or delay. For the times that someone is unreachable or plans change unexpectedly, take it in stride and plan for the future. Friendships should and can endure interruptions, and it’s up to all the people involved to make an effort. This is especially true when something comes up or a person is very busy; a little common courtesy in communicating will strengthen the friendship and help everyone stay on the same page.
Millennials are changing the world with our ability to forge relationships, but it takes time and effort to maintain these relationships. If you find yourself without many or any 3 am friends, it might be good to work on this in case you ever find yourself in need. By trying to empathize, communicate, share, and reciprocate, we can become that 3 am friend for others and in turn draw more people around us. It doesn’t mean we sacrifice our personal time or space, we increase these things to cover the people in our hearts. If everyone opens their friend circle a little bigger, it may help everyone who needs someone in this world.
Share your thoughts on friendship and Millennials. Tell your stories of the best thing a friend has done for you or maybe you did for someone else.