Level up your friendship with a walk – it’s better for you than a beer.photo/provided
Matt Heath, Herald columnist and Radio Hauraki breakfast host, has taken on a new role as Wellbeing Editor for our Great Minds Mental Health Program.
“Hey man, what are you doing? Want to go take a walk with me? “Many Kiwis would feel uncomfortable texting a friend. We found it easier to ask a friend out for a beer than for a walk. I’m not talking about a walk that needs Macpacs and DoC huts. It’s just one friend asking another Interested in taking a walk. No big deal.
For some reason, it feels forward suggesting a wholesome activity. With beer, you can pretend it’s alcohol instead of people. You can hide behind emotional protection, you might just be after a beer and not necessarily say you like and want to spend time with that particular friend. Walk Requests take friendship into new territory. We are concerned that it may be misunderstood.
I’m trying to get over these anti-walking emotions. Walking with friends is free and healthy, and you won’t be dangerously steamed on the K road eight hours later. Once you step on it, a walk isn’t as awkward as meeting at a bar. You have a natural instinct to look, not just look at your friend’s face across the table. When you meet for drinks, you fill in awkward pauses with booze, vaping, and checking your phone. As you walk, you can let the conversation flow at a natural rhythm.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked another friend while walking. I asked both parties separately about their requests for truth. They are both named Tim and host the weekend ZB radio show together. I asked Tim if it was embarrassing for Tim to go out for a walk? He replied: “A little bit”.
“It’s a threshold thing. It’s saying to that person, not just saying, I like you and I want to be with you. You worry they’re going to think, oh my gosh, I barely know this person.”
Another Tim claimed in the invitation that he found the walk request “very inappropriate”, but then added “no, just kidding, it’s great”.
“He’s my colleague and I like him.”
Why doesn’t Tim do something socially acceptable and suggest drinking beer?
“Because I’ve been trying to lose weight. Plus, I really enjoy walking and being close to nature. I love sharing the tracks I find. It’s the best way to catch up because you don’t eat calories, you don’t burn Money, you don’t have to keep looking at each other either. It’s not about being a wowzer about drinking. It’s fun too, but it’s great to realize that catching up doesn’t have to be alcohol-centric.”
Another Tim thought: “The beer party is the easier option, but it makes sense that Tim wants to show me a walk he loves. I love it. Tim thinks his walk proposal is an escalation in friendship. We Already working together – hosting a radio show for two years. We’ve only met once outside of work. So it’s a new level. We both have kids, so it’s hard to find time.”
Another Tim thought: “It feels like an admission that we love each other’s company. Like congratulations, I’ve got enough frequent flyer points. We’re at silver level now.”
Tim v Tim buddies on the Ōmanawanui Track with great success.
They all recommend asking friends out for a walk.
Another Tim put it this way: “We’re all mentally coming out of the slump of the past few years. It’s a heavy burden. I think we’re all looking for meaningful connections.”
To test the waters with my friends, I texted three close friends: “Hey man, what are you doing? Do you want to go out for a walk?”
My high school friend Cass replied, “No, but can I make lunchtime beers at The Morningside?”. Manaia replies, “Walking? How about a beer?” After a while he adds, “Did you type the wrong number…is that txt for the lady?” Phil replies, “Yes, where is it?” I’m getting fat. Need to exercise.”
One third is not bad. Phil and I took a 4km stroll around the picturesque Ōrākei Basin. We talked and laughed and went home fully awake. A few days later, it was so successful we wandered around Maungawhau (though the stroll at De Post Belgian Beer Cafe did last a few hours).
Cheer up and upgrade your friendship today by taking a walk—it might not kill you, it might make life more fulfilling for both of you.