When life gets hectic, often times our friendships suffer. You may find it difficult to give your friends the time and attention they need or desire when life gets busy. Maybe you’ve just had a baby and aren’t sleeping through the night. Your friends with children will know your pain. However, friends without kids may not understand why you can’t seem to find time for them or are very distracted when they visit. If you have a big project at work or a looming deadline that means you have to put your friends on the back burner for a while.
One of my dearest friends has a really big job. She has been working like mad ever since accepting it. For the next few years, she’ll be super busy. Yet she manages to let her many friends know she still loves them and cares. I thought I’d share some of her tricks and tips so that you can keep your friends even when you don’t have much time.
Here are 7 simple ways to maintain your friendships:
1. Be honest with your friends about your busy schedule.
Your friends might assume that you’ve moved on if you never have time for them and are too busy to go out. It is important to let your friends know what is going on. Maybe you have a big project at work or the new baby isn’t sleeping through the night and you are exhausted. Tell the truth and let your friends know that you love them just as much but won’t have much time until things change. We all know that our busy friend really won’t be available for the next few years while she is doing the big executive level job.
2. Book a special event.
Take the time to celebrate the end of your deadline or project with your friends. It helps keep friendships going strong if you have a shared activity or trip that you are all looking forward to in the future.
3. Hit many birds with one stone by doing things with a group of friends.
Instead of 6 separate lunches, get all your friends together for lunch or dinner. That way, you can catch up with everyone all at once. Make each person feel special by asking how they are doing and what’s new.
4. Give a big huge welcoming hug.
When you do see your friends, make a point of giving each one of them a big warm hug and smile. Tell them how much you’ve missed them or care about them. A heartfelt warm greeting can make a lot of lost time disappear in an instant.
5. Invite your friends to join you in your daily tasks.
If you need to get your nails done, ask a friend if she can join in, too. Need to get new fabric for your curtains? Ask that friend with excellent taste to come along and help you choose. Going for a run or to the gym? Invite your group of friends to join. By combining your daily activities with your friends you save time and reconnect.
6. Set up a group chat.
Another way to keep your friendships alive when you’re short on time is to set up a group message on What’s App or similar. This way you can stay abreast with everyone at once and keep tabs on what they are doing, even if you can’t always participate.
7. Show you care in times of crisis or need.
Send flowers and a note. Call and let your friend talk. If you don’t make time during times of need, you’ll lose touch. A friend of mine called me up and told me about her experience of being with her mother while she was dying. It made me cry but she knew that if we were going to keep our relationship close, she needed to share this difficult life experience with me. I just listened and cried with her.