Tips To Preserving A Friendship When Your Priorities Are Ever-Changing
With age and time forever moving forward, changing priorities seem to be the only constant in life. Commitment towards work and family takes up a substantially large portion of our lives, leaving behind the once-cherished friendships.
Sure, you talk to your friend often, but the quality of those conversations is almost starting to deteriorate. It seems hurried. It’s clearly not because you don’t love them as much anymore. It has to do with the fact that more people in your life demand the same love, if not more. Some studies show that around 54% of people find their best friends between 12 to 18. And more than 51% of people lose contact with these friends between the age of 25 and 28. That’s when your career and other relationships bloom in full force, and friendship starts taking a backseat.
More studies pointed out that the importance of quality friendships in one’s life is unfathomable. It not only helps with mental health but also physical. Solid bonds with friends can boost your immune system and reduce the chances of certain chronic illnesses. If that is not enough for you to sit up and start trying to get back the old bonds, there’s more. Every year, more people than you believe suffer from depression and loneliness. The presence of close friends in life does not treat it but prevents the illness from reaching you.
It is a privilege to have genuine friends. The day indeed seems shorter compared to the amount of work you have now, but it is not that tricky to keep your friendships on the list of priorities. Trust me; even if your to-do list looks unattainable, you can still make time for your besties.
No. One: Expectations- Manage & Communicate
You are not the young and carefree self that you once were, and neither are your friends. Let’s talk facts first. For both you and your friends, things have changed, and priorities shifted. There is nothing abnormal about that. Time does that to you. Now how do you float your friendship along with all the other responsibilities?
Let’s focus on managing expectations. Don’t expect your friends to be available for a quick meet-up or even a phone call at all times. They are occupied with a million things, the same as you. Plan ahead of time so that you both can arrange the day accordingly and enjoy a fun outing without being preoccupied with things left undone at home or work.
If your friend cancels on you, be understanding instead of being upset with them. Chances are they feel even worse than you. If you are busy on certain days, give your friends a heads-up. It reduces the chances of unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts. It will also minimize the odds of your friend feeling ignored or unwanted.
No. Two: Show Up
It does not take much to preserve a friendship. For starters, showing up for them can do the trick. Yes, your workload is unbearable, but some things take precedence. If your friend is having a horrible day, be there for them. For instance, if they got fired, had a breakup, or generally stressed with adulting, show up for them. They are counting on you.
These were pressing times, but you should be there for your friends even when things are mundane. They should not have to be in trouble for you to reach out. Just pick up the phone and call them randomly; your laundry can wait.
No. Three: No one’s too busy
You might be packed for the day, but if you don’t take out the time to explain it to your friend, your “I’m busy” might come off as rude and run the chances of seeming much like a blowoff. More than 50% of people agree that “I’m busy, call you later” seems like an excuse, and often the credibility of the statement is under question.
Too many fellowships have ended for the lack of proper communication and hectic lifestyle. So chuck the vague and apparent time-saving responses. It is neither saving time nor your friendship. Explain the reason and the degree of your business, and offer a solution. For instance, if you are busy till the end of the week, let your friend know and suggest meeting up on the weekend. If an in-person meeting is undoable, propose a video call session or at least a phone call. The goal is to make them feel valued.
No. Four: Small Gestures Go A Long Way
Your friends neither need nor expect you to call them every day or meet up every weekend. What they do expect is for you to put in the effort. Even the smallest of gestures can go a long way. For instance, if you are scrolling through social media and you come across a funny meme or some intriguing news about your classmate, share it with your friend. It shows that you think of them every time something engaging happens in your life.
Another gesture is sending them thoughtful text messages filled with information about your life and maybe some gossip too. The key is to preserve the old bonds and let them know they are as much a part of your life today as they were back in the carefree days.
Everyone remembers birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events, but a close friend will also bear in mind things as small as a doctor’s appointment, a meeting you have been dreading, or even something as random as the day you decided to confront your landlord about the leaking tap. Just a quick best of luck can show how interlinked your lives are and how close you are to them.
No. Five: Have a Routine
Surveys show that most people over 40 have a meet-up routine with their friends. Some meet every weekend, and some other lucky ones meet every day after work, maybe for a game of cards. Having a set pattern takes away the guesswork and uncertainty of seeing your friend.
Consider creating a new tradition with your friend. Every second Sunday of the month, you and your best friend will meet up at your regular hangout spot during college days and have your favorite snack while complaining about home and work to your heart’s content. And no judging! It works in two ways- this tradition is exclusive to you two and ensures regular meet-ups.
Not all of us are as lucky as meeting up every weekend. It might seem too less, but if you decide to meet every year for a particular event, say a festival like Diwali, or your school reunion, you will always have that to look forward to. It inches towards a promise of seeing each other at least once a year without fail.
Read : 7 Clear Signs of Jealous Friends
No. Six: Accept the Changes
Your friendships will see some ebb and flow with changing times. Accept the fluctuations and work your way around them. There will be times when you will be at the peak of your friendship, talking and meeting them almost every day. On the flip side, there will be dry periods just as well. Either you or your friend will barely have time for the other. Not out of choice, but compulsion. Understand that it is normal.
It is okay to miss your friend in times like these. You can even politely communicate that to them. But make sure it does not come off as an accusation. If they have been too busy to call or text, take the initiative. You can drop by their place and check in on them.
It is crucial to realize that your friend is not ghosting you, and their unavailability is not personal.
At the time of distress, friends come in handy more than colleagues or even many relatives. These are the people you confide in when things go haywire. While the initiative and efforts might not be the same from both sides, it is essential to acknowledge whatever attempts your friends are making to stay connected. Not everyone’s life and struggles are the same, either.
There might be times when your friend puts more energy into preserving the friendship; they call and check up on you daily, while you can do it only once in a while. In such times, to minimize the chances of your friend feeling ignored, tell them how much you regret not being able to reciprocate their efforts. Try to validate their actions by telling your friend how much it means to you. At the end of the day, these are your closest companions; they will understand that you are held up otherwise and believe you when you express your love and care for them.
Note : Image credit to unsplash.com