Being purposeful about your friendships

our good friends, J & P

One of my top values is connection and so I really enjoy spending quality time with my friends.

I found that life gets busy so quickly that months pass before we realise that months have passed (!) and then we have to try and find space in one another’s diaries.

I know “this is life” but I want to be purposeful about my time and prioritise the friendships that matter to me.

These three things are currently working for me:

1. Set the next date as soon as possible after I see them.

When we get together with one particular set of friends, we set the next date there and then for about 6 – 8 weeks out.

This way we always have something to look forward to and we don’t have to scramble to find the time to see one another.

I met another friend for lunch recently and we’ve already scheduled our next lunch date.

2. Use appointments or activities I currently have and “add a friend”

I’m using my lunch times and instead of eating at my desk in front of my computer (and blogging), I’m making one lunch date a week for the friends that are more my friends than couple friends.

I’m eating lunch and connecting.

I went to a parenting talk tonight and invited about 6 or 7 friends. All of them declined my offer (!) except one. She and I met up, enjoyed a cup of tea beforehand and sat next to each other during the talk.

I’m learning and connecting.

One more… I ran into a friend’s daughter at the gym last week and discovered she’s also a member now. What I plan to do is have us both work out and then have a quick juice/ cup of tea afterwards.

I’m exercising and connecting.

3. I made a friends spreadsheet

I resisted this for a looooooong time because it felt way too planned and structured for me.

And then I gave in. What does it matter if it helps me accomplish my goals?

I have the friends down the left and then dates along the top and I can see at a glance who I need to make more of an effort with.

It still feels OCD but it’s working 🙂

Two questions:

How do you keep up with all your friends?

Do you prefer to connect one on one, or in a big group?

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Comments

  1. Me and hubby don’t have a lot of friends. Only two couples as friends. So keeping up with them is easy. We try to get together with them once every 2 months. The one couple though are so extremely difficult to get with (Because of how busy they are), that we only see them once in 4-6 months.

  2. Wow… I have a friends spreadsheet too! I really don’t talk about it much, because it feels so cold+clinical… “What do you mean, you wouldn’t remember me if your spreadsheet didn’t tell you!?”

    I find this useful mostly for people who do not live in the same city as me, and I don’t run into often via my regular activities. I’ve also lived in a different country for the last year, so I have a lot of friends back home that I want to remember, but not neccessarily have an opportunity to see regularly.

    I use the spreadsheet to remember to email / phone / write every now and then to keep up the connection. Most of the time, I just update the date (of last contact) on the spreadsheet because I’ve already re-connected with them. But for the times when I miss someone because my schedules been hectic, it is a great memory jog, and I can then make an explicit todo item to go and connect with them.

    Also, I have them divided up by categories depending how often I want to contact them – monthly, 6-monthly, yearly? Some contacts (e.g. professional contacts) I’ll sync up with less regularly than my best friends.

    Rachel

  3. mmm not sure I could make a spreadsheet :-p

    But we are pretty busy socially so just take it as it comes right now 🙂

  4. I don’t think I could make the spreadsheet either, and I don’t have that many friends anyway, but I love your first tip. “months pass before we realise that months have passed”… so so so true!

  5. I have just completed my new spreadsheet and I LOVE it.
    Out with the old and in with the new and all that. I am definitely NOT OCD, though I do lean towards the eccentric side from time to time. I honestly don’t think it’s OCD or clinical to have a spreadsheet like this. I am considering doing something similar for family so my kids can get to know their cousins that we hardly see…

  6. And that’s a really good idea about setting the next date immediately. I fall short when it comes to this. I don’t mind groups or one on one. Both of these have their place. I suppose one on one is my favourite between the two.

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