Friday, February 01, 2013

{Friendship Friday} The in-laws edition


When we were on holiday I invited the in-laws over to our flat for supper.

We were chatting and my SIL happened to mention that a close school friend lived in the area and she hadn't even bothered to give her a call.

I asked why and she said she really doesn't know. It felt like too much schlep, she was on holiday, etc, etc.

Basically excuses. There wasn't any bad blood between them.

Well, when I heard the friend lived right in Ballito (which is all of a 5-minute drive from one end to the other :), I strongly encouraged her to at least give her a call even if they just met for a quick coffee.

Ja, ja, I'll see, she said. So I left it.


Then MIL tells us that a really close friend of hers hasn't spoken to her for 3 years.

I was gobsmacked!

There were 4 of them in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and they're scattered all over the world - Spain, Australia (1 on either end) and her in South Africa.

They all keep in contact in the old-fashioned way - now via email but until recently, writing letters and the odd telephone call :)

When D and I visited Australia in 2004, we were having a really tough time while staying with our friends. We had just been staying together for too long and the two of them didn't agree on things with us (yes, you can eat that; no, that's D's, don't eat it) so it was Awkward.

My MIL had given us her friend's phone number so if we had time, we could see if we had a chance to get together.

Well, she loved hearing from us and immediately said she'd come fetch us and we'd come spend an evening with them.

It was one of the best evenings we had in Australia. She is such a lovely person (very straightforward like me), lovely family and we hit it off like a house on fire.

And, as is typical for me, I keep in contact regularly, we Facebook, email, send pics, etc.

So when MIL tells me she's not speaking to this friend, I was horrified.

I've said before there is no changing MIL's mind. If she decides something is so, if you like being calm and centred, just be quiet because to try and engage and have a discussion means you will lose your mind.

But I was willing to go there for the sake of their friendship.

MIL was convinced her friend was cross about something really stupid and I insisted that the friend is not like that and would never bother about it. But if she did feel that, then tackle it and sort it out for the sake of the friendship.

She absolutely refused, said she's written twice, no answer from her so that is that (now we know where D gets his stubbornness).

I said, please, just try again. You can even say something like.. I was thinking about you so much on holiday and I wanted to check and see how you're doing. Which is all true and doesn't even bring up the other stuff.

She agreed to think about it. Which is what I wanted - just an opening.

As an aside, MIL then says,  Marsh, M thinks the world of you and that you can do no wrong. Which is kind of weird but I get her point because I also think M's pretty darn marvelous.

The bottom line which is what I told both of them is that if everyone thought that reaching out and connecting is a big schlep then we would all be poorer without those friendships and connections.  And that I prioritise my friendships and make sure I see at least 3 people every month because those relationships are so worth it to me.

They went "hmmmmm" but I think it did sink in.

When I went to bed that night, I felt slightly fatigued but satisfied that I'd encouraged them both to connect with their friends.

And guess what?

SIL eventually got together with her friend on the morning of their last day (said it was so lovely but time was too short - you'll be most impressed because I didn't say I told you so)  and MIL sent me a mail the other day saying, Guess what? M wrote to me! I prayed and asked God to sort it out :) By whatever means is what I say!

I'll leave you that thought - it is worth reaching out and connecting!

This month, can you think of one or two people who you will reach out to and connect with?

What are your friendship goals for Feb?

 PS this weekend I want to do a lot of this - read, paint my nails and take pics :)

PPS I love these random pics!
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  1. No friendship goals for February. Is that bad? I have loads of group socialising happening and two weddings to attend - both of them kid-free. Actually we are invited to a braai with the kids in Mid-February. All the way out in Wellington. I've met the lady only once. I do want to connect with an ex-partner of a good friend of ours. She's moved on and married someone else and also has a special needs boy. We spoke about getting together and she's waiting for me. However Lance is unimpressed that there is a friend date in the pipeline for me and the ex of one of his closest friends. Told him to deal with it!

    1. Not bad at all - I have one party, one couple date and two 1:1 friend dates during lunches.

      BUT I do want to schedule the March ones

  2. My two friends are reaching out which is fantastic but they both want to do dinner. After all this sickness I'm content to sit with a bottle of water over wasting a meal. So we shall see!

    1. Why don't you counter with a drink date? :)

  3. ooooooh. i want to paint my nails.

    ok. i can think of one person for sure. there are a few other people i could contact...but i'm in more regular contac with them.

    let me think about my feb goals! :)

  4. Oh Imjust LOVE this post. So true, we need to do more, I need to do more. A 40th party to attend next weekend- have not seen the couple friends in ages. But also need to see some girlfriends. I am planning two long chat email to my overseas 2 BFF and then I have a little bloggers friend thingy gping which you should know about soon enough ( hope its not lost!)

  5. I am your sister in law! I know I need to work on - I tend to become a bit of a hermit given half the chance. The thing is David is so very social so we spend a lot of time over weekends with friends and it actually gets too much for me. I don't think I was aware of this until recently but I think it is why I then withdraw and crave time in my home with just my family.

  6. You know my thoughts on random pictures - My favourite kind of pictures. LOVE them

    Not everyone is like you Marcia when it comes to nurturing friendships... for some it just seems like too much hard work. I am in between you and your in-laws somewhere. And Y is probably an extreme version of your SIL (took me a while to understand, which I still don't but I have kind of accepted it)

    I find it weird how people just assume someone is cross when an email was not replied to or a call was not returned -my take, the mail could have gone to their spam, or they might just have a lot going on in their lives and just need the break! Or maybe they are just blowing you off (LOL), but I would hope not

    PS: I had a little laugh about "now we know where D gets his stubbornness" (ok I had a big laugh).

  7. mmm will think if there is someone i can reach out to and connect with this month. Friendship goal for the month - have people around for dinner : )


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