The world is a busy place these days, and even when we want to have friends we may put them aside for other obligations. It happens to everyone eventually, but in order to keep friends, you have to nurture them.
Apologize and Get in Touch
If you realize you've been neglecting your friends, tell them you're sorry. Everyone can understand when life gets a little too crazy to keep up with people occasionally, and an acknowledgement that you've had a hard time juggling it all will be welcome. After apologizing, make it up to your friends by scheduling an activity that you follow through on. From that point on, be proactive in your communication with friends so they know you care. You can do that by:
- Texting a quick note to say hello.
- Suggesting a meeting for lunch.
- Sending an email to let someone know you are thinking of them.
- Posting a nice note on their Facebook wall.
Be Proactive When Contacting Friends
Often friends feel as if you are neglecting them if they need to keep reminding you to get in touch. One way to combat this is to contact your friends before they need to hound you. If necessary, put a note about it on your daily to-do list so you make sure to get it done.
Some people find that these type of quick messages can be much easier first thing in the morning when they start their day, or just before they wrap up to go home at night. Another option is to reward yourself at the end of a long day by calling up a friend when you get home. Even if you just talk for a few minutes, nothing can energize you like some interaction with your pals.
Keep Commitments With Friends
Another thing that hurts friendships is when you agree to plans but then end up canceling later. Everyone has things come up sometimes, but if you're consistently doing this your friends will think you are insincere. To help you cancel less often:
- Write plans in your appointment book and commit to them as if they were a work meeting.
- View time spent with friends as your reward for how hard you work, rather than an interruption to your day.
- When you're with your friends, focus on them without distractions. Turn your phone off and push any thoughts of work away.
When you learn to prioritize your schedule to include your friends more often, you'll look forward to getting together and having more balance in your life.