I’m part of a few group text message threads. There’s one with my high school friends, one with my college friends, another with the old SURFING Mag crew.

They’re basically non-stop heckling. So much entertainment. So much distraction. So much fun.

I often find myself choking back giggles about what’s said in these virtual locker rooms, and sometimes try to explain my laughter to my girlfriend. It falls flat. You need the full context of shared experiences to really understand. It’s best-friend kinda stuff.

Then, the other day, a buddy from the college thread wrote that he and his wife just had their second child. He shared a photo and we all congratulated him, of course. But I didn’t even know they were expecting. WTF? I realized that even though I’m always communicating with these people, it’s always superficial. We never explore beneath the tip of the iceberg.

Does this happen to you, too?

Realizing this, I challenged myself to speak with 14 friends in 14 days. No text messages or emails, just phone calls or Facetimes. I’m seven days in and it’s been pretty incredible. I’m learning about new girlfriends, new jobs, new kids. Plans. Fears. Hardships. Doubts.

You know, human stuff.

We’re now a year into this pandemic and it’s been one of relative isolation. Face masks. Food deliveries. Everything from afar. Actually speaking to people has really helped me, even though I hadn’t realized I’d needed help.