03 Apr 5 Tips to Be a Good Friend Despite your Crazy Schedule
It’s not unusual that when our schedule gets crazy, friends and fitness tend to fall by the wayside. With sleep being a biological necessity, the passion many of us feel our work (or at least our pay cheque!) and the demands of your partner and/or kids near impossible to ignore, time to spend with friends can be very tight and when that happens, friendships suffer.
But as social creatures we need our friends, and we need our friends and time apart from our partner and kids. Friendships require maintenance and care and it takes effort to keep in contact with your friends.
Is there any way around this sad reality of being time-poor and sacrificing friendships? It’s a question that time-use expert and author Laura Vanderkam has been analysing recently. In some recent writings, Vanderkam examines the psychological benefits of strong friendships (and why we sometimes let them slide anyway) before offering a long list of “ways to be a good friend, even when you’ve got a lot going on.” Here are a few of her tips in brief:
1. Plan big
“Paradoxically, big get-togethers can be easier to prioritise than smaller ones,” writes Vanderkam, offering the example of a busy professor who plans an annual getaway for her old college friends and their families. Because of the scale of the event, it becomes a (really fun) priority. “If you’ve got a friend group you’d like to cultivate, become the instigator of such a trip,” suggests Vanderkam.
2. Go recurring
You know how hard it is to find time in your calendar for a single event, so make your life easier by creating a recurring engagement — such as a book club or weekly coffee date with a friend — that you’ll soon see as a schedule staple. “Making it regular makes it happen,” insists Vanderkam.
3. A quick text
You don’t need to send constant selfies but the occasional, thoughtful text can be a great way for busy adults to keep in touch. “A simple ‘I’m thinking of you’ is a much nicer way to pass the time in the line for coffee than looking at email (again),” Vanderkam reminds us. Group texts are another way you could go – just make sure they don’t turn into distractions!
4. Double up
Try mixing friendship and errands, suggests Vanderkam. Not only will bringing your friend to your exercise class or shopping for your kid’s school uniform brighten up the experience, but it’ll help you pack more friend-time into your crammed schedule.
5. Choose wisely
Not all friendships are worth maintaining when you’re extremely busy. Pick wisely and think carefully about whether it’s more important to make new connections or maintain old ties. “Friendships should energize you, so when time is tight, it’s best to invest your time and energy in the relationships you know already enrich your life,” cautions Vanderkam.
This article has been adapted from an article that originally appeared on Inc.com