Over the weekend I spent some time with my 20-somethings friends, and one of the challenges they struggle with is maintaining friendships – knowing when to invest the precious commodity of time into a relationship when there are a million “to-do’s” screaming to be done. And knowing – when you do have people in your life – who to spend your time with! It’s hard to know who the people are that COULD be in your life, and even harder to know who SHOULD be in your life, right?
As we were talking about it, Tyler, 27, who keeps a full time job and pursues his dream of music and acting on the side, quoted this poem.
Not everyone you want will come.
Not everyone who comes will stay.
Not everyone who stays belongs.
I think this sums it up pretty well.
When you’re in high school and college, you think the friends you make will be your friends forever, but as you plunge into the world of work, move away, and get involved in your new adult life, you drift apart.
By the way – this is not unique to millennials. It’s a challenge no matter what age bracket you are in – if you live a busy life, it’s hard to know how to (a) fit friendships and hanging out with friends into your schedule and (b) choose which people to spend that time with.
I struggle with this as well. Hubby and I have a few “couple” friends – some of them very close – but the ones we are closest with are not physically close. We both lead busy lives, and finding time – MAKING time – is hard!
However…. if you’ve read the book, Adulting Like a Boss, or know much about what I say – it’s, “Do the Hard Thing!”
Doing the Hard Thing is true with most things of importance in your life, and it’s definitely true when it comes to relationships. You have be to intentional – and MAKE the time for friends. You can read more about that in the Blog Post “Finding Friends.” Or go back and listen to Podcast #5 of the same topic.
Most people will tell you they are busy. That’s America. We are all busy. We have jobs, and commutes, and activities, and responsibilities! We can fill ALL our time up with stuff we need to do. But you MUST make time for friends and relationships! You rarely will regret investing in relationships!
To say YES to TIME hanging out with friends means saying NO to something else. So – if you’re finding that you don’t have time to spend with friends, what will you have to say no to? Because if you stop trying – and every time someone tries to hang out with you, you turn them down – guess what? Eventually, they’ll STOP trying, and will find someone who DOES have time for them.
It’s not about HAVING TIME…. It’s about MAKING time.
A few quick tips for making time for friends:
- Combine your “to do” list with hanging out. Grocery store? Have a friend go along. Laundry? Ask a friend to come watch a movie while you switch your clothes from the washer to the dryer. Errands? Fit in a quick coffee date in the middle. You don’t have to commit an entire day or even an evening – just hang out WHILE you do your to-do list!
- Make a regular date! Like – every Saturday morning, I’ll go on a run with my friend Anna. Or every Tuesday evening, my friend Lindsay and I will go do something fun downtown. You get the idea. Keep an open spot on your calendar when you and your friend(s) get together.
- Ditch something “important” that won’t kill you if you skip it – and hang out with a friend instead.
One of the things you DON’T learn in college is that friendships – both making them AND keeping them – take a lot more work once you’re out of college and out on your own. You have to make an effort – a conscious effort – to make new friends and keep the ones you have.
When you’re constantly running at a frenzied pace, you may get used to having a jam-packed schedule. Ask yourself:
- Have my friends complained about unreturned emails or phone calls?
- Do I dread having lunch or dinner with pals because it cuts into my productivity or family time?
- Does it seem like I’m the last person to know what’s going on with my friends?
- Do I keep cancelling on my friends?
- Have my friends pulled away from me without explanation?
If you answered yes to some of these questions, you may have been neglecting your friendships in favor of work or even family life. It doesn’t mean that your other obligations aren’t important, but it does mean you’re going to have to do a better job nurturing your friendships if you want to keep them.