Remember the days when sleepovers, late-night phone calls, and weekend shopping sprees were a regular occurrence with your BFFs? I do, and fondly. But, as I now know, growing up means extra responsibility that cuts into quality time with those you hold dear. And though social media can make it feel like I know the daily happenings of my girl squad, thinking back, I couldn’t remember the last time we sat down (with wine and a cheese platter, of course) to debrief on all things break-ups, marriage, and career. So, to help me on my mission to redefine fun with some of my oldest pals, I asked psychologist Gemille Cribb from Equilibrium Psychology on some practical advice when it comes to thinking of ways to reconnect for those of us who are time-poor.
Keep scrolling to find out what she had to say.
Long-lasting friendship is an important factor of life, particularly in a fast-paced society, and Cribb suggests that it’s crucial to living a fulfilled life.
“To live a well-rounded life, we need to gain our identity from as many different facets of life as we can. Relying overly on who you are and the people you associate with in your work and family roles can leave you vulnerable to narrowing your potential for growth and development in more varied areas. And it can also make you vulnerable to not coping well with challenges.”
Cribb also pegs a strong sense of self as a positive spin-off effect that comes with healthy friendships. “Having a wide variety of roles in life and people who you are friends with in each of them helps you learn more about yourself, grow as a person, and enjoy a variety of influences and connections.”
But if you’re feeling guilty for fractured relationships and maybe even the isolation that has now become your reality, you should stress less because Cribb suggests that this is not rare predicament adults find themselves in. “It is very common for friendships to be difficult to maintain the same intensity of the friendships of your younger years. We often aren’t engaged in the structures that make it easy to catch up with friends on a daily or weekly basis and, with time, people grow and find different interests and pastimes so you can find that some commonalities that brought you close to certain friends previously no longer exist.”
See below for the psychologist approved ways to kick your friendships back into gear.
LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
“Lowering your own standards of what a good catch-up entails and allowing yourself to be playful in limited time frames, more sporadically, or while utilising the greater ease that technology affords us can help you redefine fun with your friends.”
USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS A TOOL FOR CONNECTION
“Get creative with what you can do via Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram etc. Set novel challenges for you and a friend to send each other photos that you find humerous.”
SHARE THE ROLE OF ORGANISING CATCH-UPS
“If meeting up face to face is a priority (and it should be) then share the organisational role. Meet up with a group and assign the next organiser before everyone goes home. Having a theme, a game, a focus topic, or debate ... anything that gets people out of autopilot can be a time-effective way of increasing the fun of a catch-up and make it worthwhile even if it is sporadic.”
PLAN NON-NEGOTIABLE REOCCURING CELEBRATIONS
“Planning an annual celebration such as Christmas in July with a group of people and making it a tradition with various themes and rituals associated with it can mean that a group stays together much longer than would happen organically.”
Keep your friends initials close to your heart.
Learn more about forging new connections.