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Jul 19 2016
by Lauren Wigren

5 Ways To Stay Close To Your Friends Despite Conflicting Schedules

By Lauren Wigren - Jul 19 2016
We’ve all been there: between classes, homework, sports, clubs, family commitments and jobs, maintaining a social life can seem impossible. Skipping a night out or a social event every now and then is not only understandable, but necessary. Surely, your friends will understand that you’re busy, and they of course, will have times when they’re busy as well. However, in order to maintain fulfilling and lasting friendships, you need to be present at least some of the time. You don't need to plan a day-long epic adventure, but simply reaching out every once and awhile will prove that you do still care. Here are a few simple, yet meaningful gestures that can strengthen the bond between you and your friends despite your busy lives.

1. Talk on a regular basis.

We are lucky enough to have grown up in a world of revolutionary technology and means of communication. Between iMessage, GroupMe, Snapchat, Skype, FaceTime, e-mail and Facebook (not to mention, the good old-fashioned call-function on our phones), we really have no excuse not to keep in touch with others. You may not have time to talk everyday, but a phone call or message of some sort a few times a week, or even just once a week, is much appreciated. If weeks go by and you haven't even sent so much as a "what's up" text or an ugly snapchat, your friends may start to think something's up.

2. Plan a quick meet-up.

You may not have time to spend the whole afternoon at the mall or the whole evening at the movies, but if you have even an hour to spare, fill it with some face-to-face interaction with a bestie. A cup of coffee at a local café, an ice cream, a bike ride or a leisurely walk, while perhaps a tad cliché, are flexible and a great way to catch up and converse with your friends in person even if you don’t have a lot of time. Setting aside a little time for your friends every once in awhile shows that you care about them and that you do want to see them. Your plans don’t have to be extravagant or lengthy; an hour out of your day proves that your friends are a priority.

3. Tackle common priorities together.

Both have a big exam to study for? Both need to workout? Have a group study session or hit the gym together. Sure reading notes aloud and running on the treadmill may not be as fun as a beach day or shopping spree, but at least you’re suffering together. Not only are you bonding, but you are motivating each other to study or exercise and are making such responsibilities more enjoyable for each other. Having a friend by your side makes getting through the tough parts of the day a whole lot easier, especially if it’s a friend you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

4. Let them know when big things happen.

This one kind of goes along with keeping in touch. If your friend is going through some big changes such as a new relationship, a new major/career path, a new job, a death in the family or hardship of some sort, wouldn’t you want them to tell you? When life takes a dramatic or exciting turn, let your friends know. If they find out from someone else, they may feel confused or hurt that you didn’t tell them, and if they don’t, they’ll be completely caught off guard and perhaps feel a little alienated the next time they see or talk to you. You can’t expect to maintain closeness with your friends if you are unable to share important aspects of your lives.

5. Plan to spend quality time together and don’t back out.

Coffee dates and quick luncheons are fun and a good way to break up your day when life gets hectic, but your best friends deserve more of your time and attention every once in awhile. Nobody expects to be your top priority every night and weekend; however, you should make an effort to plan an outing of some sort when you have the time. Plan to go shopping, attend a concert or do an activity together, and discuss possible dates with your friends, even if your next available date is weeks or even months out. When you finally do agree on a date, time, and activity, make sure to leave it open in your schedule: ask for work off/get your shift covered, write that essay beforehand and don’t make plans with somebody else. These types of outings don’t have to become a regular occurrence, but allowing time for them every once in awhile is important if you want to stay in the loop with your friends.

If you want something, you have to work hard for it, whether it be a good grade, award or job promotion. Friendships and relationships are no different; you can't make them work unless you put some effort into them. Showing your friends you care about them is neither difficult nor stressful, and if you work these tips into your routine every now and then, you're good to go.

Lead Image Credit: CBS Television Studios

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Lauren Wigren - Simmons College

Simmons College 2020! Majoring in Elementary Education and History. Loves writing, acting, singing, working with kids, and my dog.

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