Tips: No Time for Friends
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, November 2010
You're buried under so much work and responsibility that you have not connected with your friends. When you let too much time pass without responding to their social entreaties and invitations, you can dig yourself further into holes of unresponsiveness. Eventually you may find yourself feeling everything from guilt to inertia, even resentment, especially when your friends are persistent.
There are ways to maintain and nurture your friendships even when your time is limited to "be there" in the way you would like.
Consider these tips:
Be Honest - Communicate your situation. Your true friends will understand, even if they are disappointed or upset. They are entitled to their feelings. Return calls or emails to let them know you have not fallen off the face of the earth and that you, too, miss them. Everyone's life gets busy so inform them of your inability to be available in the way you would like at this time. If possible, make a date to see them in the future and mark it in your calendar. Make every effort to honor it.
Group and Conquer - If three or four of your friends are acquainted with one another, suggest that you all meet for dinner. Or plan on casually entertaining the entire group. You don't have a lot of time, but you just might have enough for one relaxing, fun night out with them.
Brief Encounters Can Be Satisfying - Strive to steal a little time back for yourself out of your busy workday. Arrange to meet friends for brief shared breakfasts, lunches, or cocktails. Or arrange to walk together in the early morning. Sometimes spending a catch-up hour with each other is the "touch base" that gets you through the day.
Friendships work best when people are sincere, flexible, concerned, forgiving, non-judgmental, and grateful.