Spending quality time with friends is important for your emotional well-being. Research shows that friendships lower stress levels, promote self-esteem and provide a sense of belonging.
If you are finding yourself falling short in this area, try one of these strategies to spend more time with your friends. You may be surprised at how easy it can be!
One way to make more time to spend with your friends is to carve out specific times on your calendar where you dedicate all of your attention to them. Whether you set aside 15 minutes each Wednesday to chat with a friend, or make a monthly brunch date a priority, taking the time to prioritize your friends can help them feel valued and remembered.
Make a plan
Many people feel uncomfortable approaching casual acquaintances about making plans. If you’re willing to take the first step, it’s easy to make new friends and spend time with them.
You can also look for groups or clubs that meet around common interests. For instance, book or card clubs are a great way to bond with people while learning something new.
A night out doesn’t have to be a big, expensive event. Even something as simple as having a movie night at home can be beneficial. Spending time with friends is a great way to recharge your batteries and help you feel more motivated. She recommends scheduling the “rocks” in your life (like friends) and allowing other commitments to fill in around them.
Having a flexible mindset can help you maintain friendships in spite of changing circumstances. Linear thinking and resistance to change can cause friction in personal relationships.
Flexibility can also make it easier to find common ground on activities that you both enjoy. For example, if your friend is trying to save money, you could suggest a less expensive outing like brunch instead of dinner. This is a simple but effective way to show that you care about maintaining your friendship and want to find ways to spend time together.
Maintaining close friends can be challenging, especially in a work-life environment that has blurred the lines between work and social activities. But by being flexible, you can keep in touch with your friends even when your schedules are busy and you’re spending more time at work.
Make it a priority
The best way to make time for your friends is to treat them like a priority. It may mean setting aside specific times of the week to spend with them or actively choosing to stow away your phone when you’re with them.
It also means being proactive about reaching out, and not waiting until the friendship starts to deteriorate. You might text them a quick message or leave them a voicemail if you haven’t heard from them in awhile.
Finally, it may also mean making a list of the people you want to prioritize and consciously put them at the top. Treating them as a priority will help keep them at the forefront of your mind when you’re making decisions. It’s a little like scheduling in the “rocks” before you schedule in all the other activities and commitments (the “sand”). This makes them easier to stick with.