The reality of life today is that we are a busy society. We pack our schedules with activities, work long hours, and then try and have a life somewhere in between! It can take a toll, especially when it comes to friendships. Being too busy for friends can mean you aren't getting the benefits and support that come with close relationships. It can also mean you may end up losing a few friends.
Are You Too Busy?
When you're constantly running at a frenzied pace, you may get used to having a jam-packed schedule. Ask yourself:
- Have my friends complained about unreturned emails or phone calls?
- Do I dread having lunch or dinner with pals because it cuts into my productivity or family time?
- Does it seem like I'm the last person to know what's going on with my friends?
- Do I keep cancelling on my friends?
- Have my friends pulled away from me without explanation?
If you answered yes to some of these questions, you may have been neglecting your friendships in favor of work or even family life. It doesn't mean that your other obligations aren't important, but it does mean you're going to have to do a better job nurturing your friendships if you want to keep them.
Is Your Busyness Temporary?
If you are swamped right now because of a temporary situation (you're going to school, have a new job, just had a baby), your friends will understand and support you. Being busy becomes an issue when a temporary situation becomes permanent, or when it gets immediately replaced with another issue. If you are someone that "thrives" on chaos, your friendships may eventually end up taking a back seat.
Friendships, like any relationship worth having, take effort. To find balance between your friends and everything else going on in your life, take a mental step back and view your life as if you were a stranger. If there is one area that stands out from the rest as being "too full," you may need to adjust some of your attention.
Try to estimate the time you spend on various areas of your life (work, family, and friends). Write down how much of each day is typically spent on each. You don't need to be exact! This exercise is to help you visually see where your priorities have been. For example, you may discover that you just need to say no to work a bit more, or that you need a night out away from your family every once in a while.