How to Prioritize Friendships in a Busy World
By the time you reach your mid-twenties or so, some things about life start becoming clearer. One of those is that sad fact that it’s much harder to develop and maintain friendships as an adult than it ever was before. It’s not as easy to form a bond when you’re no longer in school together, and friendships often take a backseat to work, family, and other commitments.
But strong friendships are vital to our health, well-being, and general happiness, at every age. Use these tips to make new friends and strengthen your bonds with old ones.
Schedule calls in advance.
Today’s society shuns talking on the phone, but phone and video calls can be much more meaningful than text messages. For friends who live far away, chatting in real time is really the best way to stay present in each other’s lives and continue to strengthen your bond. But you probably won’t pick up the phone to call at random (and in 2019, your friend most likely wouldn’t answer anyway), so schedule a Skype date to make it happen.
Involve your families.
If you and your friend both have partners or children, involving them can be a good way to get together. One-on-one friend time is important, but a playdate for your kids or a double date with your partners might be easier to get on the calendar.
Plan a trip together.
For people with really busy schedules, traveling with a friend or a group of friends might seem totally impractical. But it’s an incredible way to bond if you can make it happen. Even a day trip will do the trick, but doing a yoga teacher training or retreat together can not only deepen your friendship but bring new friends into the fold as well. It’s worth it!
Commit to responding quickly.
We all have friends who never answer emails, don’t call back, or take ages to respond to a text. If you want to prioritize your friendships, don’t be that person! Make an effort to respond quickly, which will keep the conversation going and make your friends feel more valued.
Be active together.
Planning to join a friend for a workout, a bike ride, or just a walk through town can make it feel like you’re killing two birds with one stone. You’ll probably get more exercise and more friend time when you plan them together. As a bonus, this makes a great healthy alternative to meeting up for dinner or drinks.
Develop a shared ritual.
Traditions among friends usually emerge over a long period of friendship, so it can feel cheesy or forced to try to create one. But a shared ritual or tradition can help you stay in each other’s lives and develop meaningful memories. Maybe there’s a periodic event in town you can start attending together. Or you could start mailing each other postcards or just sending a check-in text at the same time each week. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you’ll both be excited about.
Whether your friends live nearby or far away, it’s well worth prioritizing those relationships, even when life gets busy. Close friendships bring many benefits, from reduced stress to higher self-confidence and even greater longevity. And when things get hard, you’ll be grateful to have each other for support.
About the Author
Jen is a freelance writer, blogger, and yoga teacher who left her office job in Boston to travel the world with her husband. She previously worked in international development and academic research, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda. Some of her biggest passions include promoting responsible and mindful travel and helping her students develop their personal yoga practice.