Sound familiar? Is this your busy life?

The phone rings, it beeps with a text….oh no it’s Facebook or Twitter with a little something. the washing machine or dishwasher beeps to tell you it’s ready, the dog pines to go out for a wee or for something to eat, your kids keep calling out ‘Mum’ and you wish your name was something different.  There’s no petrol in the car and you’re due for the school pick up, it’s nearly tea time and the weekly shop needs to be done. Your in-laws are over for the weekend and you need to dig out your recipe books to impress them with your domesticated goddessness.  Oh and there’s a huge pile of ironing that is about to topple over every time you walk past it.  Urrrgh frustration city.

With a to do list as long as loo roll, how do you find time to catch up with your friends?

Relationships , including the one you have with yourself require some effort.  As our lives get busier, it isn’t surprising that is becomes more difficult to nuture our friendships.   These special people who once were a big part of your life, now seem to get bits of you.  You used to see them or speak to them most days and knew what their routine was.  You knew each other so well and felt integrated into each other’s lives.   Now it’s more a case of playing telephone tag to organise a date in the diary and communicating by voicemail or text.  Worse still Facebook (yes I’m guilty of that one too!).

Friendships are such an important part of who you are

Childhood friendships bring lifelong benefits as studies reveal that ‘children who make just one close friend are far less likely to be lonely and depressed as adults, and are more likely to enjoy successful romantic relationships in later life.’ (Source: The role of Friendships in Psychological Adjustment, Jossey-Bass).

This is essential at the age of 7 or 8 when children undergo important cognitive changes which mean they develop their own sense of self.  They separate out from their families and start thinking ‘This is who I think I am?  Am I right?  Do you like me?

Try some new ways to keep connected to your friends

When we get a bit of time to ourselves, it feels easier to curl up with a good book or plonk ourselves in front of the TV with a glass of vino.   So in the spirit of making an effort to nuture those lovely people who still mean so much to you, how about trying some of these:- 

1.  Actions speak louder than words

I’m a huge fan of this.  If you say ‘We must catch up’ or ‘Let’s get a date in the diary’ – do it!  Even if it’s a few months away.  Otherwise don’t say it.  Have respect for your relationship and the other person. They are still important and it’s not their fault you don’t have as much time for them.  Neither is it yours, it’s a shift in priorities and a case of circumstance.  Good friendships can survive a bump in the road.

2.  Do bite sized connecting so you don’t leave it too long

Like anything we put off, the longer we leave it the bigger it becomes inside our heads.  Go back to basics and if you can’t spend an entire evening having supper or going for cocktails, find 30 minutes for a coffee rather than not bothering at all.

3.  Have a reshuffle of your friend priorities

Look at your friends and see how the relationships nuture and nourish you . Good friends, what I call Energisers’ bring out the best in you and you really enjoy being with them.   Upgrade the Energisers and make them your priority.  I have friends like this: they are fun, make me laugh, are supportive and thoughtful.  Remember you become like the people you spend your time with.

Downgrade the ‘zappers’ and spend less time with them.  The friends who take more than they give and leave you feeling worse about yourself.  That is a one way street and imbalanced.  If they don’t like it, they will drop off the radar and go off to zap somebody else instead.

4.  Make sure your friends can find you

Make sure you are in the same place at the same time once a week and tell your friends you are there.  Then your friends can find you if they want to.  Making yourself available to them is a good way to show that you still care.  If you are always so busy it may feel to them as if they cannot reach you.  So on a Sunday night, I’m going to start clearing my diary and telling everybody I’m about.  If my friends wanna pop over for cuppa or chat on the phone, I’m around and I will be the Sunday after that and the Sunday after that. 

5.  Written words mean so much

In a virtual world where it’s texting and emailing, try sending a card randomly with a reminder to your friend how much they mean to you.  Receivng a card in the post when it isn’t Christmas or my birthday makes me smile. It’s the little things as they say.

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