From early on in life we connect with and develop friendships with various people. As a child, our friendships may mostly be limited to our classmates or other children we participate in activities with. In high school our friends are the most important people in our lives. They form our support circle as we navigate from childhood to adulthood. As a young adult we often meet people of various ages and backgrounds as we enter into the workforce or pursue higher education. What makes a solid friendship is really as unique as the people involved. Many friendships are kept active out of shared interests and ideas, while others are kept up because of history and routine. Sometimes friendship is based more on feeling. When I think of my closest friend whom I have had since high school, I can’t really think of what common ground keeps us in contact. We don’t live in the same city anymore, but when we talk or get together it always feels like time has never passed and there is never a moment of silence. I love the feeling of having a friend that just gets me. As we grow older, it is easier to put our friendships on the backburner. It can be easy for our spouse, kids, careers and other commitments to take over the majority of our time. I would encourage everyone to make time for friendships and nourish them because there is nothing better for the soul than a good visit with someone who loves and accepts you just as you are. Here are a couple of tips for maintaining your friendships.
1) Make dates. It can be so easy to get caught up in the “let’s get together sometime” trap. If you have a concrete date set, you will be more likely to follow through. You can try this out with phone dates for out of town friends as well.
2) Join an activity together. Whether it be a fitness class or art class, doing an activity together gets you both out of the house participating in something you enjoy while giving you the chance to catch up. Very efficient.
3) Use social media. We maybe don’t always have time for a catch up with a friend, but sharing something from social media or better yet, going old school and sending a card, lets you friends know you are thinking of them and you care.
Ultimately you have to decide if your friendships are important enough for you to put effort into. Everyone is bus, life is busy. However we can choose to prioritize. If you value the friends you have put in the effort to keep them. After all, we need someone now and again to bail us out of trouble or better yet, get into trouble with us.