In a recent blog which can be found here, I talked about my own experiences of friendships drifting apart. In there I mentioned that one main reason of friendships drifting apart is due to busy schedules getting in the way. Whilst busy schedules make it hard to maintain friendships, it is still possible to maintain the friendships that you value the most. I wanted to therefore talk about 4 things that you can do when it comes to maintaining your friendships despite having a busy schedule.
Take time to reflect on your friendships
Reflecting on my own friendships every now and then has been one of the things that has helped me the most when it has come to balancing friendships with my busy schedule. When I talk about reflecting on friendships, there are many ways that you can do it, and there is no right or wrong. Personally, when I reflect on friendships, I usually think about which ones I value the most currently, and which friendships I want to have going forward. This reflection allows me to prioritise the quality of my friendships over the quantity, and ensures that I can balance my friendships with my busy schedule in an effective manner. Taking a step back to reflect on your friendships doesn’t have to take very long, but it can help you with maintaining high quality friendships.
Plan things in advance rather than purely rely on spontaneous plans
A good number of people rely on planning things spontaneously and going with the flow when it comes to social plans with friends. Whilst that can work in some cases, it is a lot harder in other cases, and busy schedules is one of those cases where it is harder. One thing I have found is that if I am invited to a social plan with very short notice, I usually have something else on at that time which I can’t or don’t want to rearrange. Whereas if a social plan is planned with at least a weeks’ notice, then it is a lot easier for me to fit it in my schedule and I can plan things around it. In my opinion, planning things in advance shows that you are willing to work around the busy schedules of you and your friends, making it easier to maintain friendships.
Prioritise quality over quantity
When you have a busy schedule, it is likely that for a lot of your friendships, you won’t have time to meet up with them every week. However, there is a very weak correlation (if any) between frequency of catch ups and quality of friendships. There are several good friends that I don’t see that frequently, but we have good quality time when we do meet up. This means that these friendships are still maintained. For some friendships, prioritising quality over quantity is an adjustment in itself. For example, for friends that were in the same university as you, you were probably used to seeing each other very frequently, and that might not be the case once you both leave university.
Proactively invest in your friendships and don’t use busyness as an excuse all the time
It’s crucial to acknowledge that having high quality friendships can help you in so many ways. Therefore, friendships should be something that you continuously spend time and energy investing in. It is easy to effectively deprioritise your friendships if you have a busy schedule, and then use your busy schedule as an easy excuse. Whilst busy schedules can get in the way at times and does lead to friendships drifting apart, it shouldn’t be something that you use as an excuse all the time. At the end of the day, you are likely to be busy the majority of the time with something or the other. Therefore, you need to find a way to balance friendships with your schedule, rather than wait for things to be less busy. Acknowledging this will enable you to invest in your friendships despite your busy schedule, making maintaining your friendships easier.