This gets harder the older you get. In high school and college, your friends surrounded you almost every moment of every day. You went to class together, attended extracurricular activities together, and, if you’re like me, you even had the same job as your best friends in high school (no seriously, my friends and I all worked at LifeTime Fitness together for many years and it was awesome).
But as you get older, things change. Obviously I don’t have to tell you this, but I think we’re all in the same boat here. And by now, I’ll bet most of your friends are scattered across the country like mine are. Womp.
I try my absolute hardest to maintain my friendships as an adult, but it’s really hard sometimes! Life just kind of happens, you know? You know.
SO, I wanted to spread the knowledge. I’ve come up with ways to help maintain those precious adult friendships — because I think we all can use a little help with this.
I have a call list. It’s literally a list of people I want to keep in touch with. And every so often I check the list and make sure I’ve checked in with those people recently. It’s a simple Notes doc on my phone, but it works! I also write down things like “plan a coffee date with so and so in May” or “call so and so when you get back from vacation.”
I keep very, very detailed lists of birthdays/holidays in my planner, and I have reminders the weeks leading up to acknowledge it. This may seem totally crazy of me, but if Jacquelyn’s birthday is on August 5th, and she’s someone I usually mail a gift to (she is), I have a note in my calendar 2-3 weeks beforehand reminding myself to ship her a gift. This goes for my mom on Mother’s Day, or even my friends’ anniversaries or due dates. Not a birthday or holiday, but I literally have a note in my calendar that says “Bridget’s due date is coming up!!” a month before (Hi Bridget!). This leads me to another important one:
I use the heck out of the postal service. Snail mail is and will always be important to me. I love going to my local stationery store, picking out the perfect card, and writing a note with love. Everyone loves mail! And they always will! At least in my world.
I “remember” things that are important to my friends. Another thing I write in my calendar: when my friends have interviews or any other work/school-related milestone. My brother’s CPA exam dates were in my calendar. My friend Kara’s interview for her most recent job was also in there. Because believe me: I will forget ANYTHING not written in my planner… I don’t care who you are. My crappy memory shows no mercy.
I multitask. If I’m going on a trip to Trader Joe’s, I’ll call Taryn to see if she wants to walk with me. I’ll ask friends to take workout classes with me. Any way that I can hang out with a friend while crossing something off of my to-do list is a win in my book. They make everyday tasks so much more fun!
I make an effort to put my phone down when I’m with them. There’s nothing more infuriating than when you think someone is listening to you, then they pull out their phone like what you were saying means nothing to them! I never want to make a friend feel like that, and since I see my friends so little, I want them to feel like they have my full attention when we do see each other. Obviously I’m not perfect at this… no millennial is. But I’m working on it!
I make plans with people. I am not the type to often say “hey let’s maybe do something this weekend.” I’m more like “hey let’s do this at this time on this night.” I’m not really flakey, and I like to have my calendar planned out weeks in advance. I realize I’m a minority on this one, but I own it! And it works (unless people flake, of course). ;)
What do you do to maintain your adult friendships? Are you going to use any of the tips listed above?