Finding Time for Friendship

A couple of weeks ago I was visiting with some friends about how busy life seems. We all agreed that when we were single and first married, we thought we were busy (and, to be fair, we did have many important things that occupied our time). However, now that we’re in the trenches of parenthood, we can’t believe that we felt so busy back then! Our schedules are much fuller now.

When we’re busy, our friendships often fall to the wayside. How can we find time in our busy days for friends? Here are some ideas.

One consequence of feeling like we have so much to do is that our friendships often fall to the wayside. Sometimes we rarely see or speak with our friends. At other times we see them (sometimes regularly), but we don’t really connect because our time is short or we feel too tired to delve deep. My husband and I were reflecting on this recently because we don’t feel deeply connected to many of our friends right now.

What can we do about this? How can we find time in our busy days for friendships? I don’t have all the answers, but here are a few ideas that I’ve been mulling.

How to make time for friends

  • Complete practical tasks together. We have to complete routine tasks (folding laundry, shopping, weeding the garden, making freezer meals, etc.) every day. There’s no reason we can’t catch up with friends while we do these things. We can check with friends and see if they can join us. If they can, it will give us time to socialize and get some things crossed off of our to-do lists.
  • Do nothing while hanging out. Though we can complete practical tasks with our friends or attend fun events with them, we can also do nothing together. Often times this latter option is easier to fit into our schedules because we don’t have to do anything to prepare if we’re just going to hang out and chat. We can plan in advance to do nothing while hanging out or we can arrange these types of gatherings at the spur of the moment.
  • Schedule it in advance and write it on the calendar. Sometimes it doesn’t work to do things at the spur of the moment. When this is the case, it’s useful to select a specific time to hang out and write this on the calendar. Getting it on the calendar is critical so we don’t forget about it and don’t schedule anything else at that time. Moreover, we’re more likely to treat it as a priority—like we would a medical or dental appointment—when it is documented on the calendar.
  • Utilize mealtimes. We all have to eat, so why not take advantage of mealtimes to have interactions with friends? We can easily invite another individual or family over for dinner. Sometimes this doesn’t seem easy because we worry about what to cook or about our homes being messy. However, if we can get to a point where we are comfortable with our imperfect homes and if we prepare low-key meals (such as this Mexican Rice Bake or Bourbon Chicken), then mealtimes become great opportunities to connect with friends.
  • Avoid substituting social media for the real thing. Though it is called “social” media, we rarely have deep, meaningful interactions via Facebook or similar platforms. However, despite being busy, most of us somehow find time to spend on social media each and every day. What if we spent less time on social media and used the time we freed up to have face-to-face interactions with friends? I don’t know about you, but I think I’d feel a bit more connected than I do when staring at a computer screen.
  • Balance one-on-one time with group time. When our time is limited, we can hang out with friends in groups so we can see several friends at once. This approach is helpful; however, the dynamics are always different in groups than with individuals. Sometimes we are better able to open up and share when we’re one-on-one. As we take advantage of ways to hang out with groups of friends, it’s important that we also find time to hang out with the individual friends to whom we are closest.

I hope that by implementing these ideas my husband and I will soon find ourselves experiencing deeper relationships with our friends!

Do you struggle to find time to connect with your friends? Have you found any useful strategies for connecting despite your busy schedule? Please share these ideas with us below!

Shared at the following:

Coffee and Conversation, Home Garden Linky, Moments of Hope, and Friday Frivolity.

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Comments

  1. Funny, but now that my kids are more independent and in charge of their own social life, I find that I don’t get together with my kids’ friends’ parents like we used to! I miss that, so I need to be more intentional about arranging my own “play dates”!

    • Shannon says:

      I hope you are able to do this, Michele. Finding time for friends definitely isn’t limited to one season of our adult lives. We may need to be creative in order to find ways to get together!

  2. So true. Whenever I spend some leisurely time with a good friend I wonder why I don’t do it more often… and then I don’t. I should do better.
    Amalia
    xo

  3. I think the whole matter gets further complicated when we take into account the need for family time and time to be alone as spouses, too! A lot of my good friends are single, and they’ll invite us to events, but often, by the time that my husband gets home after work and we have dinner as a family, we just want some time to play games or talk as a couple once our little guy goes to bed. It can be tough for us to figure out a good balance, I think. A few weeks ago, we had a weekend full of get-togethers with friends,and it was awesome (especially since I’m an extrovert), but it wore my introverted husband out, and we didn’t have much time to just “be” as a family or a couple that weekend. This is just something that we need to keep talking and praying about, because I do think it can be a case-by-case basis for us and changes a lot.
    I am very grateful for our church community for many reasons, one of which is that we have built-in opportunities to spend time with friends. Our church’s young adult group does some activities that we can’t make it to, but it also does a monthly potluck brunch together, which has been a great way to regularly see people.

    • Shannon says:

      It’s definitely hard to find the right balance, AnneMarie. What is best does change a lot (from one week to the next and from one season to the next). I think you are correct that we need to keep talking through it and praying about it because all of these relationships–our friendships, our families, and our marriages–are all so important.

  4. This is good, Shannon. I really appreciate these suggestions. It’s an area of my life I need to work on. Much appreciated!

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