When was the last time you went out with your friends? Once you get sucked into ‘adult responsibilities’—work, household errands, raising kids—it can be very hard to squeeze in time for friends. Instead, we keep in touch through Facebook or the occasional text message.
However, regular ‘friend time’ is crucial! Studies show that having deep friendships can lower your risk for heart attacks and high blood pressure, because a strong emotional support system (and doing something fun with people you enjoy being with) is one of the best ways of managing stress. Here are some ways to squeeze regular bonding time with friends, even when you’re at your busiest.
Set a regular schedule
Make a regular date, like ‘third Saturday of every month’ or ‘every Monday lunch’ so that everyone can block it off on their calendars. That makes it harder for people to flake, and also resolves that whole waffling about: ‘Oh, I’m not sure if I’m free then, let me call you back…’ It also gives everyone something to look forward to. It may be a totally crazy week but at least you know you have a salon day with your girlfriends this Saturday!
Find a group activity
It’s fun to ‘just hang out’ but it’s also fun to learn or do something fun together. For example, you can all take a photography class together. Or, if you’re all into crafts, create a ‘scrapbooking club’ where you can do scrapbook layouts, talk, and even have a potluck all at the same time. If you just feel like vegging out on the sofa, then go ahead—but add a creative twist. Organize an Audrey Hepburn movie festival. Play a crazy board game.
Do something over lunch
It may be hard to get together after work or on weekends. So why not meet up over lunch. Check out a nice restaurant, go shopping, or make an appointment at the spa for one of those group massages. It doesn’t have to be fancy—when you’re in good company, even coffee and sandwiches seem extra special.
Do errands together
Need to organize your closet? Invite a friend over to help—just return the favor and help organize hers the next week! You can also go supermarket shopping together (you may even save money by buying in bulk, and splitting the cost). If you and your friend have kids of similar ages, you can organize a playdate or take them to the park or zoo at the same time.
photo from pmsfactor.com