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How to Make Time for Your Friends, Even in the Crazy, Busy Seasons of Life

How to Make Time for Your Friends, Even in the Crazy, Busy Seasons of Life
I'm Stephanie May Wilson!

I'm an author and podcaster and my specialty is helping women navigate big decisions, life transitions — creating lives they love.

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Create A Life You Love: Comes out on April 30th!

I don’t know about you, but my summer is off to such a fun start. From my birthday last month to my sister’s wedding this month, things have been crazy in all the best ways. 

But while these things are so fun and so good, my packed schedule means I’ve had way less time with my girlfriends lately. Days and weeks have gone by without us having a chance to catch up, without a girls night or a coffee date on the calendar. Life just gets busy, right?

When I talk to women about their friendships, busyness is one of the biggest things holding them back. Our plates are so full, there isn’t enough time in the day for all the things we care about—and sometimes our friendships are the first thing we move to the back burner.

I love the way Shauna Niequist says it in her book, Bittersweet

She says, “Good friendships are like breakfast. You think you’re too busy to eat breakfast, but then you find yourself exhausted and cranky halfway through the day, and discover that your attempt to save time totally backfired.” 

It really is so true. So how do we navigate this? How do we make time for friendship even when we’re super busy?

I have three strategies I use again and again to make time for friendships in the crazy seasons. But before I get to that, I want to say that if you feel like you’re being pulled in a million directions, if you feel like you just can’t squeeze enough hours out of the day, if you feel like you’re failing at balancing friends and work and family and everything else, you’re not alone. Balance is tough. And sometimes balance means giving ourselves grace for not having balance. 

Sometimes we get married, land a new job, have a baby, or move across the country. Sometimes life gets crazy, and sometimes we need to step back from everything so we can catch our breath. If you’re in this place right now, take the time you need. Best friends will be waiting right here for you when you get back. Promise! 

Ready for my best tips and tricks for prioritizing friendship even in the midst of a busy life? Here we go!

Schedule way in advance.

When I anticipate a crazy season around the corner, I grab my calendar and pencil in girls nights and coffee dates way in advance. 

I’ll admit—this habit took some time to grow. Honestly, one of the things I miss most about college is how five of my best friends were just a walk down the hallway. I could burst into their rooms at a moment’s notice and end up spending the evening having fun together without much planning or coordination. Transitioning to more “adult” lives can be so hard on our friendships as we get older. We have more responsibilities. We live farther away from each other. It all just takes more planning and intentionality. 

But when I finally embraced this reality and learned to just work with it, it became less of a bummer. These days, when I want to spend time with a friend, we pull out our calendars and schedule something. Finding a date that works really doesn’t take much time and effort—it’s just important to make it a habit. Think of your calendar as a friend instead of an enemy. It helps make sure your girls nights actually happen!

Remember that it’s okay to multi-task!

Yesterday, I decided to call a good friend to catch up on life while I went for a walk. Four miles later, we’d had a long, heart-to-heart conversation about everything going on in our lives. It was so nice to reconnect with her after some time apart—and I didn’t even feel like I’d had to “squeeze in” a quick coffee date or get together. 

Truly, the time I catch up with most of my friends (especially the long-distance ones) is during walks or commutes. Since I work from home, I don’t have a daily commute. But many of my friends drive anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour back and forth to the office each day. That gives us anywhere from 15 minutes to a full hour to catch up on each other’s lives! And I’m so thankful that they choose to use that time to connect with me instead of zoning out with music or the radio (though sometimes we need that too!). 

Whether you’re walking, driving, or cooking dinner, catching up with friends on the phone while you do something else is a great way to fit in some quality conversations.

Do everyday life together.

Spending time with friends doesn’t have to be fancy. When life is super busy, some of my Nashville friends and I have a tradition: one of us picks up Chipotle for the group, and we all meet at one of our houses to share a quick, no-prep meal. It’s so easy! Instead of meeting for a nice dinner or cooking something fancy for each other, we just sit around the kitchen table and eat takeout. We have to eat dinner, why not do it together?

Another way I make time in everyday life is having “work dates” with friends who also own a business. We meet up at a coffee shop and get our work done together! This might not always feel like focused quality time, but it’s still a way to say, “Hey, I still want to see you. I still want to be in your life, even when we’re both super busy and typing away on our keyboards.”

I’ve also learned to use this strategy for friends with kids. Since I know my friend needs to be home to put the baby to bed, I plan a visit to her place after bedtime (making sure I knock quietly!). Then we have the whole evening together at her place. And since I’m the one who made the trek, she usually has a meal or snacks for us when I get there. It works out well for everyone!

It’s actually fun to take the parts of life I do anyway and turn them into something friends can do together. From meal prepping to grabbing a quick lunch between meetings to taking care of kiddos (if you’re both home with kids during the day, why not be home with your kids together?!), it just makes sense to do life together!

And friend, aside from being a good friend to people you care about, making time for friendships in busy seasons is good for you too. Something I’ve learned over the years is that when I’m in the middle of busy, stressful seasons, that’s when it’s more important than ever to take time for my relationships! Carving out pockets of time in the crazy moments takes work, but it’s always worth it. After all, life is better, easier, and so much more fun when we do it with our friends by our side. 

So let’s take a deep breath together (because this is a super busy time for me too!). You’ve got this. I’ve got this. We’ve got this! 

P.S. If you’re the “busy friend” in this season, I have one more resource to encourage you! In this podcast episode, my sweet friend Marri gave us all some wonderful advice on how to find pockets of rest and self-care in the crazy times too. She has some super practical advice on how to take care of ourselves and create space to breathe. Let me know what you think!

Also, on the topic of friendship, make sure you check out my guide all about how to make friends in a new city!

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How to Make Time for Your Friends, Even in the Crazy, Busy Seasons of Life

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