Are you too busy for your friends?
A little while ago, I travelled to meet friends and family for a few days. The first part of the trip went super smooth. We all agreed to meet at a specific place and before moving on to the restaurant for dinner. It worked like a charm and you almost didn’t need What’s App to find out where anyone was.
We had the same arrangement with friends in the second city we visited: Meet at one specific location. Unfortunately, this time, our little What’s App group didn’t seem to stand still. There were constant messages. One pulled out as their child was sick, another one shortly afterwards due to them feeling unwell. A few more last minute declines were sent out and at the end, it was just one of my friend and me. Her and I enjoyed our time together so much.
It was great to nice to have this one-to-one time and I’ve said yes to all the requests to meet individually without a blink. Most of them, I only get to see them once or twice a year and I happily rearranged my days to catch up with them. How far would you go to accommodate friends and see them?
These are our tips for making time for your friends:
Remove the pressure
Having a quick coffee together is a low pressure activity. You and your friend can arrange to meet in the same mall where you’re running your errands.
Are you and your friend working in the same building or street? Meet for a sandwich during your lunch break and focus on something else than your work during this time. Taking a break will refresh your energy for your work and your mind will concentrate on something else than firing out all those emails.
Combine an activity
Do you enjoy working out and feel like you have to choose between this and your friends? Ask them to join you. Going for a walk or jogging together helps you to stay fit while sharing this experience with your friend. A study on medical students has shown that exercising with others can “boost your physical, mental and emotional quality of life”.
You and your friend can also work on a common goal. This may be working towards the same professional qualification or creating a book club to read more. If you two want to be more creative, attend an arts class together.
Schedule time in your calendar
We often say “let’s meet up” and nothing happens. Put a date in your calendar! Even if this is 2 or 3 weeks in advance, you have something to look forward to. Once you and your friend are meeting, agree to the next date. A friend of mine and I do this with our phone calls and it works!
Make it a regular occasion
We all have those friends we want to see more regularly. One of my friends suggested a standing meeting (e.g. the first Monday of every month is ours). This may sound too business like for some, however, it becomes part of your routine and makes catching up with your friend so easy. No more “Wait, let me check my calendar” moments!
Time to break up
I’ve been there and you may have as well. Those friendships that have become one-sided where you’re making all the effort and receive nothing back. Friendships should be about laughing together just as supporting the other in challenging times. There may be days, months or even years when you don’t hear from your friend and that may be okay for both of you. If your friend is constantly cancelling last minute or your common interests have grown too far apart over the years, is it still worth your energy to meet? Sometimes, we have to recognise we no longer have that bond and it’s time to say good-bye.
The overall question is whether you regard seeing your friends as their or your time. While you may not spend time alone, social relationships contribute to our own wellbeing. Time spent with your friends becomes part of your me time, even if this me time is not spent alone.
Now, we’re curious. Who’ll be the next friend you’re meeting? And how have you set up that meeting?
Until next time,