I like meeting people and making new friends. But I have found myself struggling to stay in touch with old friends while also fostering new relationships. Being a computer nerd, I eventually ended up solving this problem with software…
Certainly, there are times when it is fine to let a friendship fade into a collective memory. But more often, a friendship will fade due simply to a lack of time and coordination.
Initially I tried keeping a list of people that I wanted to stay in touch with, but I forgot to add people and I never actually followed through and checked the list. And then there was the whole business of actually reaching out. For someone I haven’t talked to in a long time, it would be hard to come up with a reason to reach out. “Ummm, hi, it’s been 1 year since we talked and you are next on my list. What’s up?" Awkward.
Then one afternoon when stuck in a loop of Facebook stalking, I had a revelation: everyone has a birthday once a year! So I started contacting people around their birthday.
Birthdays worked well because they are spread evenly throughout the year. Looking at recent birthdays gives me a rotating window of friends to contact. And more importantly, someone’s birthday is reason alone to reach out. “Hey happy birthday! How is XX going? Where are you living these days?" Easy.
For a while, I would go to the Facebook calendar page every few days and reach out to birthday people. This worked for a while but I eventually got annoyed dealing with that cumbersome page and having to figure out who I had already contacted.
So, a couple weeks ago, I decided to make a little website to help me keep track of friend’s birthdays. I visit this page every few days and I can check off when I’ve contacted someone or when I’ve decided not to.
Check out the repository here: https://github.com/vpontis/birthdays. Also, let me know if you are interested in running your own version of the site. I can make the repo a little easier to parse.