I spoke for only eight minutes with my good friend Tina, whom I have known for over three decades. I couldn’t connect with her (she has a very demanding job) until I sent her an eight-minute phone call proposal last week.
that sounds weirdhe wrote back.
come on, I ran you can do it, The President of the United States can probably do eight minutes! I promise not to go on for long. Name a time
At the appointed time, I gave her a ring. In short order, we chatted about our moms’ health, made birthday plans, gossiped about a friend who suddenly quit her job and moved to a small Mexican town, traded book recommendations, and had a Explored the possibility of the afterlife (verdict: we sure aren’t). Perfectly focused, we knocked off subject after subject before Tina announced that our eight minutes were up—and besides, she’d been whisked off to the dry cleaners.
I hung up the phone, smiling and humming a little tune. I had missed her, and I didn’t realize it until I heard her voice. I was also surprised by how much ground we covered without call feeling. Our relationship was brief, but it was real.
Happiness Challenge Day 2: Try an 8-minute phone call
Your goal today is to think about someone you love: someone you miss, someone you want to be connected with more often.
Send the person a quick text asking if they can chat on the phone for eight minutes—ideally today, but if not, schedule it sometime this week. You can also copy and paste the following:
Hi! I read it in the New York Times and it made me think of you. Want to schedule an eight minute phone call this week?
After the eight minutes are up, decide together when your next catch-up will be – and then honor your time commitment and sign off immediately. (Unless your friend is in some kind of crisis, in which case it’s good to keep in touch anyway.) Stop and enjoy that little spark of goodness.
Dr. Bob Waldinger, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of the new book “The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness,” said that most busy people “think that in some unspecified future, we’ll have a There will be ‘time surplus’, where we can reconnect with old friends.” It may never materialize, he said, so pick up the phone and invest your time now.
the value of hearing one’s voice
Hearing the sound of a loved one’s voice, says Claudia Glaser-Mussen, a psychotherapist in New York City, is “emotionally regulated.”
In eight minutes, she said, “I can call Mary Beth, my friend from high school, and say, ‘I love you so much, what’s going on here,’ or ‘Listen, I really love you. Want to run something quickly. It’s a short period of time, but you can get a lot done, and it’s so deep that all the bonding hormones start to hit.
a hard out, pre-agreed, resolves a general conversational issue manifested in a 2021 study, Researchers looked at 932 conversations between pairs of people and found that they almost never ended when both people wanted them to. Some preferred to continue, while others felt the conversation went on too long.
When a person shuts down a conversation too quickly, the researchers wrote, ignoring standard wrap-up cues (such as “use the word”), or stops chatting.otherwise also”), the result became known as the “coordination problem”. The clear limit of eight minutes avoids this.
one discovery A study of 240 adults in 2021 found that when participants received brief phone calls a few times a week, their levels of depression, loneliness and anxiety “reduced more rapidly” than those who did not receive calls were. As Dr. Waldinger writes in his book, “Some adjustments to our most treasured relationships can have a real impact on how we feel, and how we feel about our lives—a treasure trove of vitality.” Key mine that we are not paying attention to.”
Try the eight minute phone call and let us know how it went. Drop a note here in the comments. Who did you call and what did you talk about?
From The Friendship Files: Rick and David
Each day of Well’s 7-Day Happiness Challenge, we’ll be sharing stories of meaningful friendships gathered from readers across the country. We’d love to hear your story – tell your own story of friendship Here,
Rick Knapp, 73, met his best friend David during their senior year of high school in Maryland, bonding over shared tragedy. When they stumble into a conversation about their respective families, they learn that both their mothers committed suicide a few years ago.
“What an amazing — sad, but amazing — coincidence, especially at a time when there was a huge stigma around suicide and mental health issues,” Rick said. “No one talked about it. Our fathers never used the word ‘suicide.’
For five decades, the men have allowed each other to be vulnerable about the loss they suffered when they didn’t serve as each other’s therapists. David becomes more expressive and emotional, Rick said, and this has helped him to open up.
The friends are rarely in the same situation, but they commit to staying in touch. When Rick was serving in the Air Force and stationed in Europe, the two sent audiotapes back and forth because they could not make international calls. They exchanged letters and essays, eventually collaborating on a book about their friendship. They both love photography, and go on annual trips with two other friends to take pictures, relax and connect.
“Losing my mother was a deeply personal and deeply cutting experience,” Rick said. “My first inclination was to turn inward. I felt like I’d been in a fog for years. Meeting David changed that.
“It’s like the valve on the top of a pressure cooker that you lift,” he said. “All of a sudden, air can come out.” -Katherine Pearson
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