Friendships are easy when you're young. In elementary school you hold hands and skip, laugh and giggle, and share secrets. In middle school you roam the halls with your BFFs and plot against anyone outside your circle. In high school you go to the mall and the movies (searching for boys of course). And in college you go to class together, to organization and club meetings, and to parties on the weekend. You hang out in each other's dorm rooms. You may even be roommates. You bond. And you spend quality time together quite regularly. But once you leave the bubble of school-age, proximity friendships, it becomes very difficult to spend time with your friends. It is especially difficult to maintain a long distance friendship, but it can even be challenging to stay close with a friend in the same city.
When you are trying to balance working a 9 to 5 with family time and a romantic relationship, your friends can often get put on the back burner. You may find yourself constantly saying "Let's catch up!" and "We should do lunch one day!" or "Let's go for a walk together!". You make all of these great plans and they really do sound great, in theory. But when it really comes down to it, days, weeks and months can pass without you seeing each other if you don't really put it in ink.
Put it in ink. If you aren't intentional about spending time with your friends, it may not happen. You have to write it down. When you write something down it becomes important to you. If your friend is really important to you, they deserve to be in your phone and on your calendar in ink.
Make it regular. If you finally get together after a long time of saying you will, that's great! But don't let the good times end there. Before you part ways, put the next meet up on the books. Pick a date. Any date! Even if you have to cancel, it would be better to have picked a date in the first place because it will force you to reschedule.
Fit it in. The older you get, the busier your schedules will become. First it's a job, then it's a boyfriend/fiance/husband, then it's kids. Your life will probably almost always be complicated on some level. You can't wait until things slow down. You will have a busy season at work, family problems will spring up, or you will have some random life emergency. You have to find a way to fit your friend time in where you can. It may be working out together or grabbing coffee or maybe you go for quick drinks after work. Find a way to fit in a quick date with your friend.
What do you think? What do you do to make sure you still have time for your friends?
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Also read: How to maintain a long distance friendship.
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