Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a popular New York City-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in such publications as Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Redbook, Maxim and other online publications. A certified dating/relationship coach, she’s published two books: The Real Reasons Men Commit and Sex Comes First and is the founder of Dating Diva Daily.com. For more on Kimberly Dawn Neumann, visit her website.
Here are her tips for taking friendships offline.
Plan a "Chat-n-Chai" or Kaffeeklatsch
"Whatever your drink of choice (mine happens to be a chai tea latte and thus the development of the "chat-n-chai") making Starbucks dates with a pal is a great way to keep in touch. I frequently plan what my pals now call "Chat-n-Chais" which could also be termed a Kaffeeklatsch (a German word which means an informal social gathering for coffee and conversation); these are friend dates at a local Starbucks for tea or whatever you like your Barista to whip up."There is something about just sitting with a pal and drinking a warm drink that is very bonding. It also is probably something you would do anyway (caffeine has a way of becoming addicting) so why not use that time to also keep your friendships alive in a very vis-à-vis manner? I now will call my friends and say "Isn't it time for a chat-n-chai?" and they know exactly what I mean! It’s an easy way to catch up if even for just an hour and still maintain the closeness that comes from a real world connection versus an Internet one!"
Negotiate Until You Connect
"When it comes to connecting in person, it is really easy to just decide you’re both too busy and before you know it, months and months have gone by and you haven’t seen each other in the flesh. With that in mind, I frequently practice what I call "contact negotiations" with my friends. If one of us invites the other to do something and the recipient of said invite cannot make it, then it’s up to the friend to throw out a counteroffer. And if I can’t make that counteroffer, then I respond with another offer myself.
"The idea is that you don’t let a friendship go too long without a real person connection because you’re both invested in finding some time that works. It doesn't matter if you have to go back 100 times until you find 30 minutes where you can meet. Just the act of continuing the dialogue shows you’re both not just throwing out pleasantries but that you’re actually hoping to connect in person soon and you’re willing to stick with it until you can find a time that works for you both.
"It’s way too easy to let the ball drop on this one. Keep at the "negotiations" until you have something in your mutual calendars. Treat it like a doctor's appointment. Friendships are just as important to your health so schedule something and don’t let yourself cancel unless it’s an emergency."
How to Put Kimberly Dawn's Tips Into Action
- Schedule regular friendship dates for the "Chat-n-Chai." Mark them down on the calendar and commit to them even if you feel tired, are busy, or working on a big project.
- Invite new friends and acquaintances to coffee as well. Schedule a coffee date with them if you don't know them very well yet.
- Friendships have benefits that go beyond the social. They actually keep you healthy, so look at keeping your "appointments" with friends as you would a medical check-up.
Next week, you'll learn about how to turn acquaintances into friends by hosting a "sharing friends" dinner party.
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(Or, go back to the Friendship Boot Camp Introduction.)