I don’t think I really believed people when they said life after college would be crazy; Or that time just continues to get faster as you get older. Here I am though, working full time, blogging and singing in my spare time, being married, keeping a household together, seeing our families, seeing our friends and trying to keep my much needed me-time. The thought of adding children to that mixture one day is mind blowing. But honestly, somehow we all get it done right? By the grace of God we end our days and look back at all the amazing things we’ve accomplished for a day and we barely remember that at the beginning we were overwhelmed with all we had to do.
One of the most important things in life is relationships and they can be incredibly difficult to manage and prioritize when life’s daily tasks sets in and you genuinely cannot see time on your calendar for a girls night out or even a quick coffee break. Even amidst our stay at home order it’s been incredibly difficult to figure out how to maintain relationships when technically we’re not supposed to spend time with people.
So here’s how I work my hardest at keeping up with my people, even in the smallest of ways.
- Set Reminders
This is a true deep dark secret at how I keep up with my closest friends and family. I set reminders in my phone to call, text or email someone. Sometimes I even put a reminder about what specifically to say. Like maybe they mentioned two weeks ago that work has been stressful. I write in my phone on a certain day to follow up with them and ask about work. I know at first this comes across as possibly not being genuine, but when you think about it it’s actually because I care so much about what is really going on in people’s lives, I try to make sure I keep notes of what’s going on so I can pray for them or just talk to them about it. I promise you’ll become addicted to this method once you start. Plus there’s been several times that God has used this method and I text someone at the exact moment that they needed some love and encouragement. It’s always the most glorious feeling.
- Learn Love Languages
I feel like by now this is a popular enough topic, but just in case here is a copy of Gary Chapman’s Love Language Quiz. Read all about it there if you’re not familiar. Learning what your friends love languages are can greatly increase your connection with them. The trick is figuring out ways to show your love for them amidst a busy schedule. The five languages are Physical Touch, Gifts, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation and Quality Time. You can see how some of these are difficult to do when you barely even have time for yourself. Here’s some ideas.
Physical Touch: No way around this one. You’ve got to make time to spend with your friends or loved ones to touch them. But when you do, make sure that you hug them or pat their back. Whatever way that you’ve established is comfortable between you, make sure you’re showing that love through touch. One of my best friend’s top love language is physical touch, so when I do get to see her, I always hug her for a little longer than just a normal hug and I sit close to her so that she knows I’m there and listening.
Words Of Affirmation: Much easier of a love language. Send a text, email or shout out on social media. Even better, give them a call and talk to them for whatever amount of time you have.
Quality Time: Face time or call them. Show them that you’ve set aside a little time just to focus on them. The key here is the quality part, make sure that you’re spending undistributed time with this person even if it’s virtually.
Acts of Service: Send them a gift card for a car detailing or some type of gift card that makes something in their daily life easier.
Gifts: The easiest of all is gifts. You can send any type of gift to them with a note that lets them know you love and care for them. There are even companies that make little care packages that you can send to people. One of my best friends and I recently shared this and sent one another a box full of things we love and it was so special.
- Add Others To Your Normal Routine
Going to get an at home workout session in? Facetime a friend and you can both watch the same YouTube video and spend time together! I personally like riding our stationary bike or using the elliptical and it adds a level of challenge if you’re talking to someone the entire time (LOL). Either way, pick something that you’re going to do anyway and find a way to add in some friends.
- Consciously Invite
Have you ever been the one left out of a party that all your friends were at? Then to make matters worse everyone says “oh you knew you were invited” or “of course you were invited”. Yeah don’t be those types of friends. I am the queen of list making. Every single time I’m planning an outing I make a list and check off names once I’ve invited everyone. The key here is being intentional (that’s a common lesson I’m working at teaching everyone). You one hundred percent have to be intentional with friends and family and please for everyone’s sake don’t be the person that assumes other’s will tell other people. Just invite everyone.
- Engage In Social Media
Kind of like I mentioned before, but social media is such a powerful tool in our world today. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that nothing feels greater than posting a picture on Instagram and all the comments and likes are from your best friends and loved ones giving you comments of love and support. Even in our crazy busy world, we’re almost ALWAYS online. So the truth is, it’s painfully obvious when someone doesn’t like your picture or comment a quick heart. If social media isn’t your thing then you get a pass here, but find other ways to stay connected socially. If you spend a lot of time online, for the love of Jesus just support your friends! If you have an issue with liking their photo or sharing a sweet comment, maybe it’s time reevaluate that relationship to begin with.
The biggest lesson as I stated before is going to be remaining intentional. Just like our relationship with our spouse or family members, friends also need a little TLC from time to time. Life is busy for all of us, but the painful message we’re sharing when we don’t take time for people is that they aren’t our priority. So even when it’s just a simple text, it says “hey I’m thinking of you” and that can mean more than you know at the time.
I challenge you all to find a way to connect with a friend you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while. Let’s all commit to sharing love in our world today.