Consistency of Meeting
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” When I originally saw this quote it was attributed to Aristotle. Turns out, the quote may not be by him, but that does not diminish the wisdom found in it.
This idea of consistency and habit being what creates excellence is a great approach to living our lives. Building good habits around exercise, reading and diet is a surefire way to lead to a healthier life, both mentally and physically. I believe this principle also applies to friendships and relationships.
Creating a habit or consistency in our relationships is crucially important for their growth. I have fallen into the trap of infrequent and inconsistent friendship more than once. I have met a couple of really good guys that I thought I could get along with well. We met up once or twice -- we both had the usual: wife, kids, a job, a yard and other responsibilities. We got along well, but our friendship stagnated because we weren’t meeting up with any regularity.
So what does a better example look like? How can we build friendships within our busy lives? One solution I’ve found is to regularly text or email. I very occasionally talk with one of my best friends. But if we don’t email for a week or two, we notice. Email is not perfect -- of course meeting in person, face-to-face is always more desirable than anything digital. But with the distance between us and this stage of our lives, it’s the best we can do.
The other thing that has helped me is intentionality. Knowing that I want to grow a few strong friendships has helped me move toward guys I’ve met with purpose. We started communicating via text or email regularly, but then we augmented that with monthly meetups for lunch or coffee. I’ve found we didn’t immediately become best friends. Growth happens slowly, over time as we try to go deep in conversation each time we meet. Patience and consistency have been the drips that have slowly filled the bucket of our friendship.