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Esther Earl died in 2010, and when her family asked her how she would like to be remembered on her birthday, she gave the most good answer possible and said she wanted us to celebrate love among family and friends. Which is why, Every August 3rd, people take a moment to say "I love you" to the people they care about.

None of these problems are new, but it just gets harder to believe that strangers are worth investing time in as you get older. That's not a true belief, but it is a belief. And it's one of the reasons why community organizations (like churches, clubs, or volunteer orgs) provide so much value. They give us ways to imagine strangers as having more value, and provide shortcuts to finding people we'll be more likely to mesh with. School and work can also provide those services.

But when we're exposed to /so many/ people that seem so valuable and cool through social media (either because they really are living exceptional lives or because they are only showing the exceptional parts) we lose sight that what makes people big deals isn't their lifestyle or how exceptional their job's just that they are people. If we could remember that, I think it would be a lot easier to make and maintain friendships as adults.

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(0:00) Good morning, John. It's "Esther Day." A day in our community, and ideally in the whole world, where we celebrate non-romantic love.

(0:06) When we call on people to tell the folks that they love, that they love them, even if it is a little awkward. Like John, I love you.

(0:13) I appreciate you. To me, you will always be a big deal, no matter what. And I want to work hard to have you always be a part of my life. Is that what love is?

I also asked (0:24) on Twitter this week if people had questions about family and friends, because (0:27) I wanted to use people's questions to kinda get at something I've been thinking about a lot. And it worked.

(0:31) But let's start out with a few easy ones.

(0:33) "What's the weirdest thing you've ever caught John doing?"

(0:35) Like, besides sponsoring a third-tier English soccer team? N-nothing. That is the weirdest thing.

(0:41) "What's a cute Orin story?"

(0:42) In the morning sometimes he looks at me and he says "Ba ba da na na," (0:46) which is actually a sentence. That means "pick me up" (up-up), "take me downstairs" (da), and "feed me a banana." (0:51) Ba ba da na na!

(0:52) "How do you know when it's the right-ish time to have a baby?"

(0:55) I actually made a whole video about this, but I mostly want to answer this question because then this person's mom replied to her (1:01) and said "Ask your mom if she's ready to be a grandma."

(1:03) No. No! Bad mom! No!

(1:05) "How do you stay in touch with family when you're separated by long distances?"

(1:09) One of three ways. One: You could just happen to have all of the same free time, and all of the same desires for communication. That's not gonna happen. (1:19) Two: You could do what I did, all throughout college, and you let the person who wants to talk more guilt you or nag you into calling them, which creates resentment. (1:28) Or three: You can schedule it! Just schedule it! (1:32) Have it on the calendar so nobody's having their expectations upset. (1:35) Relationships are work! Do the work!

(1:38) Speaking of which, here's the actual question that I wanted to answer in this video. (1:41) Cuz I knew I was going to get it a lot, and I've been thinking a lot about it:

(1:43) "How do you make friends as an adult?"

(1:45) I also see people answer this question incorrectly a lot. (1:48) Those answers usually go something like "You've gotta put yourself in places where you will interact with other people." (1:53) Volunteer. Take a class. Go to a protest. Bring your neighbors cookies. If you've got kids, go to kid-things. (1:58) All that stuff's fine advice. I just don't think that it gets to the root of the problem.

(2:01) I'm gonna go ahead and get pretty real here. When you're young, you make friends easily because you find it very easy to value other people. (2:08) Like the kid next door, when you're growing up, you implicitly believe that they're a big deal and what they think about you matters. (2:14) And likewise, they feel the same way about you. (2:16) And when two people each agree on the other's intrinsic importance, they work together to maintain a relationship and respect and appreciation. And that's friendship. (2:25) At least as far as I can tell. I'm (2:27) sorry I think about these things very rationally(?), but it's how it works up in here.

But as (2:30) we get older and we're exposed to more people who might not be worth being friends with, (2:34) we also start to value other things, like romantic love, or money, or power or likes on Instagram. (2:40) I think, and this is just guessing, we're less likely to quickly value other people and less likely to be quickly valued by others. (2:47) I think when we ask "Why is it harder to make friends as an adult," what we're really asking is "Why is it harder to value and be valued by others?" (2:55) But I actually don't think that it is harder. I think that we just forgot how hard we used to work for it.

(3:00) None of this "answered" the question, but I feel like understanding the question better might help us each individually answer it better for ourselves.

(3:08) You want to make friends as an adult. You have to figure out how to really value other people, and to get them to believe that it matters how much you value them.

(3:17) Because look, we're all in this messed-up 2018 together, and sometimes you're gonna put energy in and in and in and never get any back. (3:22) That can hit your confidence pretty hard, and then you stop trying.

(3:25) But you've gotta understand that there are so many non-social and quasi-social things taking up our cognitive resources that it makes sense that people aren't giving back when you give. (3:33) We kinda sometimes don't have the time and energy to devote to valuing individuals in our lives, and that's a little bit of a disaster. (3:41) Cuz that's what friendship is. And that's what love is. (3:43) And while this video has a lot of guessing in it, that's something that I know. (3:46) Love is not free. It takes a devotion of time and energy. It takes work.

(3:51) And I want to say to all of my friends and family: thank you for helping make that labor joyful.

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.