As a busy working mum, maintaining friendships is hard. Even if we instantly click with someone, the family and work juggle can make it hard to connect and find something to talk about other than how busy we are. Here are some tips that I want to start working hard to follow, that may keep both your nearby and long-distance friendships strong, no matter how busy your schedule gets.
Write It Down
While we often shy away from structuring our friendships and conversations because it may seem contrived, writing down little reminders of what we want to tell or ask our friends about next time we see them can be a nice way to keep conversations going with limited time. Additionally, friends love to know you’re thinking of them and that you value their opinions.
We all know it’s more fun when everyone can participate in the discussion, but how can you make sure you’ve all watched and read what’s up for discussion when there are a million sources of content out there? You don’t have time to watch and read everything to make sure that you’ve seen what will be conversationally relevant. This is where coordinating comes in handy. Once you set up a time to see or talk to your friends, ask what shows they’ll be watching or books and articles they’ll be reading this week. See if they’d like you to watch or read too so that you can discuss next time you get together. For me, Outlander and Call The Midwife are all great topics of conversation!
When there’s a lot going on, it’s easy to become entrenched only in what is going on with you and the people you take care of. Many of us don’t bother to quickly ask how our friends are doing if we don’t have time for a long conversation, but, truthfully, a quick check-in like, “hey, just wanted to see how you’re doing!” is mutually beneficial and oh so nice to receive. Quickly checking in reminds your friend how much you care and gives you a chance to take your focus off yourself, take a deep breath, and look at the bigger picture—something busy people rarely get to do.
Keep Track of Who’s in Your Network
It’s completely understandable for certain people you like to temporarily slip your mind, particularly when mummy brain is at play. No matter how much you may care about certain people and want to be friends with them, your schedule makes it hard to think about all the people you’ve met and had great conversations with. You can use your social media friends lists, your journal, or your phone contacts to do a quick perusal every now and again and see who you might not have spoken to or spent time with in a while.
Your Friendships Can Work with Your Schedule
When we feel too busy to even think about our friendships, we forget that the most obvious way to maintain them is to include our friends in our days. Some of the best times I’ve had with friends haven’t been highly-organised, coordinated activities that take an entire day. Think a meeting over coffee just before school pick up, a trip to the gym you would never have enjoyed without a friend with you, or just a quick walk around the block with a friend who’s short on time.
Friendships enrich our lives and help us keep a positive attitude. Like so many nourishing things, we often feel we don’t have time for maintaining friendships at the times we need our friends the most. Even if you are only able to have a few friends, by keeping them in mind and being a friend to all, your full calendar will seem more like a full life.
How do you make sure you get to see enough of your friends?