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Saturday, August 22, 2015

7 Ways to Maintain Friendships as Life Gets Busy


Let's be honest with ourselves here for a moment. Like it or not, as we get older, maintaining and cultivating friendships with our girlfriends tends to become a bit trickier. With busy schedules, distance, husbands and kids, it can be easy to get lost in the day-to-day of all we have on our plates and lose track of how long it has been since we have checked in with some of our favorite ladies.  I have come to find that we have to be more proactive and purposeful in our interactions (and this is a work in progress for me), or there is a chance that they may not happen. Long gone are the days of seeing each other in the halls on a daily basis or getting together for lunch on a regular schedule- but that doesn't mean that these friendships and women are any less important in our lives. We still need these special people in our lives to laugh with, cry with, and lean on, just as much or maybe even more now than we did in those simpler days. So how can we continue to foster and strengthen these relationships, when we have less time to put into them?

1. Social Media: While some may say this isn't the the most authentic of avenues to maintain friendships, I am just going to throw it out there and remind you all that these are the times in which we live. So why not embrace it. This is by no means my number one suggestion, but I will admit that it is the easiest. A glimpse at Facebook on Instagram each day, and I can find photos and events in the lives of my friends and their families with a quick scroll through my feed. Better yet, I can take that extra moment to "like" or even leave a comment on their posts and images to let them know that I am paying attention and care about what they have shared.

2. Email: Just embracing all the technology available to us at once all. But really, email is kind of like a modern day letter. You can say and share more than you would on social media, and keep a "thread" or conversation going for as long as you'd like. Another neat thing about email is that most of us have a digital calendar tied right along with our account. Set a weekly or monthly recurring reminder and spend a few minutes that day writing to your favorite gal pal.

3. Phone Calls: While the 13-year-old version of myself may think otherwise, I will admit I am not a phone girl. With a busy schedule and a short attention span, it's usually not my first go to. But living in the city, I can have quite the commute some days. I have learned to put that time to good use at times (thank goodness for Bluetooth, right?), to catch up with family members and friends. It's a bonus when we are both stuck bumper-to-bumper, and can joyfully commiserate as we make our way home.

4. Group Text: This is something my girlfriends and I recently started doing. It's a simple way to get a message big or small out to everyone at the same time. You could share a photo, a tidbit of inspiration, a question, or a quick "just thinking about you all" and you will receive responses within seconds. Similar to email we just keep the thread alive and well. Obviously this is one to be used responsibly, as it could get out of hand if you have a few "over sharers".

5. Girls' Getaway: This is something my ladies and I also started this summer that I can wholeheartedly say was a highlight for me. You can make it a weekend or a week, nearby or across the country, but plan an annual gathering with your girls. I promise it will be worth it, and if you plan with sufficient advanced notice, you can all carve out some of this precious (and often much needed) time together. There is just nothing that compares with actual face-to-face QT.

6. Cards: There is just something about receiving a physical piece of mail (that isn't a bill or something trying to get you to buy into something that will lead to a bill) that just gets my heart all a flutter. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the post cards, birthday cards and even thoughtful gifts my girlfriends send me throughout the year, that surprise me and brighten my day. There is just something so personal to me tied to these small acts of kindness that isn't quite achieved through an email. Seriously, all hail to the snail mail.  

7. Prayers: Praying for your friends and for your friendships with them, for that matter, is the ultimate way to strengthen these relationships. After all, God created us to be in community and called us to love each other as He loves us (John 15:12). What better way to love on your girls than through prayer in their times of joy and need?

How do you work to maintain your friendships when life gets busy?

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