Spending time with your friends is an integral part of living a well-rounded life. With all the racial and violent mess going on, it makes me feel extremely battle fatigued. My good friends give me peace in an uncertain world. Busy schedules, family obligations, work and the time needed to decompress from it all, make scheduling (and keeping) girlfriend dates difficult. So here are some tips for staying committed to your friends, when you got so much shit to do.
Make the damn plans. This is the first suggestion, because hell, it's the obvious one. But if it were easy, you wouldn't be reading this. Instead of thing about making plans, or constantly saying "yeah girl, we need to get together", actually make the plans. In fact, when you run into that girlfriend you haven't hung out with in a while or receive the holiday or birthday text, just make the plans then. Pivot from, "yes, we should" to "what's your schedule like next week?" Lock in a date and time then. The likelihood of you going on with your day and making the plans is slim, if not, you would have already hung out with the person. S go ahead and put something on the calendar.
Plan activities on weekdays. We tend to plan dates on the weekends, but the problem is we also schedule everything else on the weekends as well- laundry, working out grocery shopping romantic dates, everything. If you have kids, forget about it. Your weekend is shot! So why not plan to meet up with your girl after work? Meet at a convenient location for both parties. If one, or both of you, work in your city's business district, where there tends to be bars and restaurants, why commute one extra day during the weekend to a place you already spend at least five days of each week anyway?
Don't just meet for food and drinks. Pick an activity you both will enjoy and something you really want to do. This is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. That art exhibit you've been wanting to see? Go...with you girl! It's easy to get in the habit of eating and drinking for every get-together, but there are cheaper and healthier ways to spend time. How many of us are trying to eat healthier? And how many of us let all that healthy stuff fall by the waist-side when we get around our friends? I know I am guilty of it. So think of things to do that involve pulling away from the table or bar. In fact, go to an exercise class together or take a long walk or jog. It's simple and cheap.
Phone calls count. Call your girlfriends! Actually pick up the phone and call your friends. This is not the same as hanging out in person obviously, but we spend so much time texting and e-mailing that we avoid calling each other. I know I am dating myself, but I remember marathon phone conversations that lasted and lasted, sometimes to the wee hours of the morning. These days, I am an early bird, who is more likely to call you before 8am, but I enjoy catching up with my friends and hearing their voices and real, audible laughter, not just seeing a typed 'LOL'. This is especially helpful for long distance girlfriends. I have had 3 hour-long conversations that consisted of laughter, cursing, gossip, crying and prayer. Talk to your friends. That's the best tenet of friendship- the stimulating conversation.
Entertain at home. This could have definitely been included with No. 3, but I think this is so important it is a stand-alone tip. When you are a woman of a certain age (I like saying that, because, really what does it mean?), i.e. a grown woman, your home, whether it be an apartment, house, owned, rented, leased, sub-leased, whatever, should be your personal sanctuary. To me, part of creating a sanctuary for yourself, is having a living space that is inviting to others. Not all others, but the select few you enjoy having around. This does not mean you have to have a fully furnished home, or that you have to live lavishly. What this means is you should have the essentials for entertaining: at least 4 wine glasses, a large serving bowl (they are just useful as hell), ice on hand at all times and music. It is always good to keep one adult beverage stocked as part of your cocktail started kit or in case of emergencies. If your cabinets are dry, let your guests know so they can bring something. Put music on, or a good show and just chill. Some of my best times are just me at one of friends' home hanging out, no agenda, no plans. Utilize your (their) home. Note: this means your home needs to always be, not necessarily "company ready", but good friends ready. It doesn't have to be spotless, but comfortable for you and them. You shouldn't have to clean your entire house every time your girl comes over.
Stop being a flake! This the last time and it's just important as No. 1. Stop making, then breaking plans. It's annoying and no one benefits from it. Reduce arbitrarily saying, "year, what are you doing next week?", then never following up next week. Your friends have their own lives and don't need you jerking their time around. They may have moved some plans around for you and to cancel it because of some random shit or ridiculous reason, (or because you're being lazy) is not cool. Also, if you don't want to meet or do not have the time, make that clear, or stop making empty promises and plans.
Now go and set up a date with your homegirl! Nourish good friendships, they're important to your well-being, and feed your soul.