Friendships need to be worked on and maintained, especially if you are no longer co-located. For nomads this is a pressing issue (one which I will revisit many times) as we continuously move to new places with few if any friends (to start with) and leaving a growing number of friends behind.
However, this is not a problem exclusive to nomads. Most people have moved once or twice in their lives because of university or work, and in doing so left the friends they had there behind. Often these friendships hibernate as life takes over and you simply forget to work on them.
One way to keep the friendships alive is by organizing Play Weeks. It is a deceptively simple concept. Schedule a number of days (doesn’t have to be a full week, but why not?) where you and that old circle of friends all meet up. You shouldn’t have anything else planned for this time. Dedicating these days to your old friends.
Really make the most out of these days. Start with communal breakfasts, then spend the day doing whatever activities you’ve planned and enjoy. Make dinner together in the evening and then drink and be merry late into the night. And if you can arrange it, have sleepovers so no one needs to stay sober and/or drive home early.
What you do isn’t as important as the fact that you do it together. Brainstorm ideas and pick a few that the group think is great. Here is a total random list just to get those ideas flowing.
- Go to an amusement park.
- Board games
- Beer tasting
- Rent a boat and go tenting on an island.
- Explore an abandoned silo
- Beach volley ball
- Old children’s game like ‘tag’
- Throw a ball around. Great for conversations.
- Build a kite
- Etc. Please give your own suggestions in the comments.
Play weeks never happen without someone organizing them. People need to take time off work and clear other similar things off their calendars to make room for the play week. For this reason, it can be a good idea to make this a repeating annual or bi-annual event. That way, everyone knows that, for example, week 33 every year is reserved for playing with the old university gang.
My own play week
I grew up with an amazing group of friends back in my home town of Ljungby, and despite our sincere promises to never fall out of touch, we have of course done just that over the last 10-15 years. It happens. But, the old gang have organized play weeks for most of those years, and below are some photos from this year’s extravaganza.