When I was a little girl I had no problem introducing myself to other kids and making friends. I had a classic pickup line. I’d run up to the little boy or girl and say, “what’s your name?” They’d respond and I’d always follow it up with, “I love that name, it’s so pretty”.
It seemed that simple! You compliment their name, they feel good, and you run off to play barbies or N64 or whatever game you were making up at that moment.
As I got older, and the social situations got a little more complex, my signature line transformed. I couldn’t use my care-free “your name is pretty” line because I’d get made fun of – and as a tween/teen – being made fun of is the worst thing imaginable. So most of the time I would wait for my “new friend” to say something negative about the class/location/activity and then I’d follow up with, “yeah this totally sucks”. Misery loves company, especially when you’re in your teens.
I’m not going to lie, these two phrases have pretty much carried me through life.
It seemed so easy to make friends with just a few words. Looking back now, it’s because you are meeting new people all the time and when you’re young you don’t really need a lot in common to strike up a friendship. As long as your friend had the same homeroom, lunch period, or afternoon English class, you could be friends.
Sure, that’s a little simplified, but the basic principle is that your daily routine involved a lot of people and it was easier then to connect with people and keep that connection.
Now, at least for me, making friends is a little harder. My life is focused on quality time with my husband, work, running errands (which seem to take up like 80% of my life??) and making time for our families.
Unless my new friend is in the toilet paper aisle at target, I’m probably not meeting her.
Not only is it tough to make new friends, but finding time to keep up with “old” friends can be even harder. It feels like everyone’s lives are expanding and changing in every way possible and quality time with your friends is often sacrificed.
For example, if I want to hang out with my friends (keeping in mind the global pandemic) I have to send out several texts to gauge interest, follow it up with specific dates/times, find a time that works for 6 different schedules, and actually show up to do the thing on that day. It takes a lot of effort to initiate any type of connection. When you’re putting effort into so many other aspects of your life, it’s really hard to justify this type of effort for a friend.
When you’re putting effort into so many other aspects of your life, it’s really hard to justify this type of effort for a friend.
But, the thing is, our friends keep us sane. Our friends can shake up our perspectives, or give us the dose of reality (or the breath of fresh air) that we need. I am saying this from the bottom of my heart – you need your friends.
So even though I know the struggle of finding time for your friends, I work hard against it. That’s why I try to make a conscious effort to open up my routine and include my friends in my life because my friends make my life better. I know that the child-like ease of showing up to homeroom and having my bestie next to me is gone.
I did this by creating a routine that was flexible enough to do something last minute (I don’t have kids, which makes this a little easier!). I find that the older I get, the less unscheduled time I have. So now I build in “empty” days/evenings where I don’t have anything planned, and I can say yes to something the day of. Some of these last minute plans have created some of my favorite memories.
I also try to set personal intentions on how frequently I want to see my friends. I love to have a true “girls night” once a month. If that means an afternoon book club, if that means a SPL cooking date, if that means just grabbing drinks on a patio – I make it happen. Maybe that’s not feasible for you, maybe once every six months is feasible, think about your priorities and be realistic on what makes you feel rewarded.
I’ve also tried to focus on scheduling more facetimes with my gal pals. The pandemic somewhat forced me into this behavior, but I’ve found it rewarding. You hear more about people’s lives when you’re speaking face to face – way more than you see over a text. I love that, and I’m trying to keep up the practice post-quarantine.
It’s not easy to be a good friend, but I know that it’s important to try.
I’m just like you. My life can be hectic and cooking, cleaning and getting that workout in are sometimes the last thing on my mind. But, I’m here to share my tips and tricks on how to make adulting a little more enjoyable.