Remember the good old days of college, when you wandered down the hall and poked your head into a dorm room when you needed a pal to hang out with? Suddenly, life got more complicated. We have commitments, a career, a spouse, kids and family all clambering for more. Making time for ourselves is difficult, much less keeping a social calendar satisfied.
The problem is that our busy schedules never seem to get a break. We like to tell ourselves that our packed schedule is a viable excuse, but the truth is that we make choices and prioritize other things over our friends. As we get older, it takes real work to make time for friends when our time (and their time) is limited, but the rewards of friendship are worth the battle. Use these tips to make time for your friends despite a busy schedule.
1. Pencil It In
The biggest hurdle to overcome is that friendship doesn’t just happen anymore; we have to be proactive and plan. We have to pick up the phone and our calendar and make what used to be an effortless act happen. Set aside time for hanging out just like you would any other commitment or the time will drift by and it will be months or even years before you connect.
I know our culture is terrible at making commitments, but your real friends will make time and coordinate their busy with your busy if the relationship is a priority to them. Look at your schedule and see where you can overlap friends and everyday life. Trips to the grocery store, church groups, football games, etc. are all items that are probably already penciled into your schedule, so invite a friend along to share the experience together.
2. Prioritize Relationships
Don’t fall for the lie that you don’t need extra people in your life during this busy season. Relationships are important for both your mental and emotional health. God is a relational being who himself lives in community (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) so why would we consider ourselves immune from needing others? We were created to connect.
Relating to friends and experiencing joy is also a crucial part of combating stress. Friends are vital to our well-being and provide a support network to help us overcome the challenges life will inevitably throw at us. Friends magnify our successes and share our tears; we need them more than we think we do, and we miss them when they aren’t around.
3. Get Creative
Sometimes we need to think out of the box when we get busy. Try to find overlapping passions and pursuits you can experience together with a friend. I’m guessing the reason you are friends in the first place is probably because you enjoy doing similar things, so take a Pilates class together, golf, hike or schedule your kids’ classes at the same time. Join a group Bible Study, schedule playdates, walk the dogs together, go Christmas shopping or plan a supper club. There are endless activities to do with friends that you will do anyway, so include your friends or expand your social circle and make some new ones while you are there.
There is something about the human spirit that cries out for camaraderie and friendship. We long to be known and accepted, and our friends fill a special place in our hearts. Without that connection, we feel a void – like something is missing from our lives. Don’t let your “busy” be an excuse. It’s never about making more time; it’s about finding the time for the things that are really important.
You may also be interested in How Being Too Busy Can Hurt Your Relationship With God