When life gets hectic, one thing people tend not to prioritize is their friendships. But when you do, your friends can be a great source of sanity during hectic times! You may think that constant attention to work and urgent tasks will bring you the most success, but all work and no play usually leads to burnout. Making time for your social life can bring you balance and rejuvenation.
You may think you don’t have an extra moment to spare, but with a little creativity and purpose you may find there are more opportunities to connect than you think! Try out these eight ways to make more time for your friends.
“The real test of friendship is can you literally do nothing with the other person? Can you enjoy those moments of life that are utterly simple?”Eugene Kennedy
1. Cook Together
You gotta eat right?! So do with with your besties! Routine activities like cooking can be
Make it a twofer! Try inviting your friends over to cook. Have them bring half of the ingredients or a side dish. Encourage them to bring some containers for leftovers. You both can have a glass of wine, cook and each keep half the goods! My friends and I often refer to our group as “The Potluck Coven”. We love cooking food and spending quality time together.
This same principle can be applied to other everyday tasks. I have a good friend who I discovered loved just being out and about! We live very close to each other and frequently run errands together. This doesn’t work for everything, but it can be a great way to get things done that you have been putting off while also making time for friends. Dropping off dry cleaning or going shopping can be a lot more fun with a buddy!
2. Do Work Together
Do you find that you and your friends always seem to be insanely busy with work? If you both have some flexibility at work, work in the same space! It can be a fun way to keep each other accountable, focused, while also having a buddy to take breaks with. Think of it like an old school study session. This type of get together might also work for other tasks you need to do on a computer like catching up on your financial planning or online household management tasks.
This method of staying in touch may not work for every pair of friends but you know yourself and your friends. Which ones can you see yourself being productive with? Time spent together working may not be as fun as going out to dinner, but it is certainly better than not seeing each other at all. Plus you don’t have to feel guilty because you’re accomplishing something!
Make a hit list of fun coffee shops, libraries or co-working spaces you want to visit. Venture into a new neighborhood. You can explore new places together while also getting things done.
3. Dial Them Up
Growing up, my dad would frequently be in the middle of a task and I’d see him stop mid-motion. He’d be making one of his favorite sandwiches and randomly say, “I need to make a call”. He would grab his phone on the spot, call up his old college buddy, “Uncle Vince”, or one of my great aunts and just say, “Hey, was just thinking of ya. Mack and I are here…” I’d yell hello to Uncle Vince or whomever it was and in under 5 minutes it was over. Sometimes he’d plan another call where they could really catch up and other times that short chat would suffice.
When these spur of the moment calls would happen, as a kid I often felt annoyed. I didn’t like that my dad interrupted our time together but it was a system that worked for him. He always described to me that whenever he thought of a friend or family member, he would just called them up right then. It seems silly but ten five-minute phone calls over the course of a year is better than never speaking to your old college buddy.
It’s the little things that keep a friendship alive. The same way giving a stranger a complement on the street can make their day, calling up an old friend (even if just for a few minutes) can mean the world to them. Now that I don’t live near my dad, I know the value of those quick phone calls he makes to me. Even when he’s running into a meeting and just wants to say a few words, I appreciate him connecting.
“There is magic in long-distance friendships. They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound.”Diana Cortes
We all have friends who have moved away. When they leave, it feels like nothing will ever be the same. With advancements in technology, we have no excuse! Plan a reoccurring phone call with your friend. Maybe it’s the first Thursday of every month or every Sunday after you put he kids to bed. Put it in your calendar like you would a conference call! Make a commitment to call that day no matter what comes up. Even if it’s just to say a few words, your friend will feel special.
4. Connect Friends to Each Other
Have a lot of individual friendships? Wouldn’t it be great if they were all friends?! When I first moved to Chicago, I had no close friends that lived here. Slowly but surely, old friends moved here and I made new connections. I went from friendless to a little overwhelmed. It was hard managing several one-on-one relationships. I quickly realized, I should introduce these people to one another! Sure enough, the five closest girlfriends I met four years ago are all great friends with each other now! Many of them even hang out without me, doing activities that the two of them enjoy.
It is one of my greatest joys to know that I played matchmaker to connect my friends. When life gets a little busy, it’s wonderful knowing I can say “Everyone come over!” in a group chat and I can see all of my closest friends at once. Group activities can be your secret weapon to making time for all of your friends. Even better, when they are all friends with each other, it tends to create more opportunities to see them because other people in your group will organize events of their own. You just have to show up!
5. Share Your Troubles
It seems obvious but so many of us avoid reaching out to our friends for help when we need it. Not only can true friends help you, but going through difficult things together can strengthen your relationship. The next time you are thinking about avoiding your friends because you are stressed or have anxiety, consider how they might be able to help. Let them know how you’re feeling. They will probably find ways to help you out, volunteer to come over and help you feel a lot less stressed!
Looking back on a lot of my greatest friendships, some of the moments I remember most are the difficult times. They are sad or difficult memories with a haze of happiness, comfort and support because I remember the friends who were there beside me. But don’t forget, it can be difficult for people to help you if you don’t let them in. So even when your spirts aren’t high, call up a buddy. That time spent during difficult times can be so valuable to you and them!
“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”Bernard Meltzer
6. Travel Together
If you’re having trouble making time for friends, chances are you may also be struggling to make time for a vacation. Why not do both in one fell swoop?
Do a little day dreaming with your friends and then put those daydreams into action! Exploring a city in a state you’ve never been to with your friend can be an exhilarating experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Traveling relaxes your brain from the everyday stressors which means that you are travel buddy will return refreshed and ready to tackle work and life with renewed gusto.
Not only will traveling together be a great bonding experience, but since your friend is involved, there’s no backing out. You may have to take time off of work, buy plane tickets or book hotel rooms which a lot more difficult to cancel or reschedule than dinner plans or a simple outing. Even if its just a small day trip, making a travel commitment with friends shows them and your schedule, you mean business!
7. Make It Regular
After graduating from an Indiana high school my best friend and I went to different schools. She headed off to Mississippi while I made my way to Missouri. Although we would only see each other over holiday breaks we were not at all worried about staying connected. We had a plan. We decided to put our faith in the ever constant, ever dramatic, Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. Every week we would call each other and watch that week’s episode together. For those that aren’t familiar with this ABC franchise, all you need to know is that it can be viewed nearly all year round. We loved talking about all of the drama as we watched it unfold. For us it was the perfect consistent event that keep us checking in with each other. This seemingly silly activity got us through four years of separation!
Like my best friend and I did, try picking a weekly activity to do with friends. It could be a tv show you both watch or a weekly event you both want to attend. We find it is helpful to choose something that you want to do on your own but you know it is better to do with a friend. Make a commitment that it’s “your thing” to do together. This will help you stay accountable to making time for each other. To make it easier to coordinate, it can be nice to choose an activity that’s time can be adjusted (like bike riding) but that occurs weekly.
8. Tighten Your Schedule
Perhaps the most important step to any time management adjustment is to assess how you currently spend your time. It may sound a little meticulous but take a few weeks to track exactly how you spend your time hour by hour. Even pay attention to activities like tv watching, social media scrolling, traveling to and from work and showering.
Is there anything you can do more efficiently? Once you collect your time tracking, decide if you’re happy with how you spend your time. You’d be amazed at how much time you spend every day doing things that are not important or urgent. Become more intentional. Schedule out your day by putting tasks directly into your calendar and don’t forget to actually schedule in your free time. That includes time spent with friends! For more on this topic, check out our video How 2 Organize Your Schedule.
Making more room in your schedule will get easier as you assess your time and apply creative solutions. After all, time remains the same and will continue to move at one pace. It is up to you to change your schedule and actions! Today is a great day to make a new start. We may not be “friends” but we are always here for you, cheering you on and providing support! We would love to continue to inspire and motivate you to organize your life! Check out our related posts below as well as our social media for more inspiration.
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”Marcel Proust