I don’t know about you but I feel as though I never see my friends as much as I would like these days.
Each and every time I do get some quality time with one of my favourites, I remember all over again how much I love it and what an idiot I am for not making more of an effort more of the time. I know I’m not alone in finding that quality friend-time harder to find as I’ve got older – most people I know would admit they don’t spend nearly as much time with their non-family loved ones as is good for them.
I’ve given it some good old thought and I think there are three main reasons why friendships get harder to maintain (in a face-time kind of way) as we get older.
1. Friends with kids
I’ve read posts by women who’ve had children about how their childless friends dwindled then disappeared after they started their families and also from women without children who feel lost and let-down by their friends who have become mothers.
These types of post make me feel very sad. I’m not going to pretend that nothing changes once people start procreating; it really does. But I refuse to believe that this should represent the end of a solid female friendship.
Am I right? Along with sleep, this is one of those things people like to get pretty competitive about – and I am as guilty as the next person, that’s for sure. Yes, time seems to be in ever-diminishing supply as you get older. For me, in between work, netball and that time I like to keep back for myself, I often find myself feeling completely overwhelmed and therefore putting off making plans with my pals.
My friends don’t all live in the same place and they don’t seem to see moving to make my life easier as much of a priority at all. Not to worry: I love them in spite of this – but it does make seeing them much harder than those I am lucky enough to live close to. I thank God for my friends with active social media presences as I love being able to see what they’re up to even I can’t see them that frequently.
If you’re nodding along up to this point, then here are two suggestions (to myself as well) for making more time for your friends:
Be understanding and make the effort
For all of the above obstacles, I think these two little pieces of advice will deal with most issues that may arise. Be understanding of the challenges to people’s time – whether they’re caused by kids, work, hobbies or even alone time. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is rarely a wasted exercise.
‘Make the effort’ is something I picked up from Rachel (and she is far better at this stuff than I am) and it totally resonates. Sometimes all that’s required is to feel as though your friend has made some effort just for you, despite the other demands on their time.
A great trick for planning ahead
This is a biggie for me – being the imaginarily spontaneous creature that I am. I am TERRIBLE at planning ahead for social occasions that aren’t weddings or birthdays. I was talking to my boss last week and he shared some of this sentiment and then mentioned how his wife and her friends deal with it. Whenever they meet up, they simply round off the fun by getting their diaries out and scheduling their next date. It’s as simple as that. I’m going to try it the next time I get round to actually seeing one of my friends…
What do you think? Do you find it hard to make time for your friends? Let me know by leaving a comment below.