I’m a firm believer that friendships, when they are mutually beneficial, are one of life’s sweetest ways of filling your soul with happiness. But being a busy mom and a great friend is pretty tough. I realized early on that I absolutely had to maintain friendships to stay sane and remind myself of who I am. I’ve got a lot of room for improvement, but I’ve decided to take small action steps to help maintain those life-giving friendships despite the maxed out calendar.
Send that text.
You know the scene: A friend texts inviting you to a play date or maybe asks if you’ll help with an event. In your head, you reply, “Yes! Can’t wait to see you.” or “Absolutely, I’ll be there! What can I bring?” But what do you actually do? Put it off until later. And what does “later” mean? Say it with me now: “NEVER!”
We have a head full of to-dos, and that text just added another one to the bottom of the list. But glance back over that list and you’ll see that the one you can accomplish the quickest is a text. So just reply!
Coming from someone who is a habitual “respond in my head” person, I have to tell you I’ve been working hard on this. I realized that responding gives me a connection to a genuine person who cares about me. Toddlers are great and my colleagues are supportive, but a real friend knows what a timely fist-bump emoji does to my busy day.
Pick up a card.
Who doesn’t love real mail?! I’ve begun to make it a little tradition to pick up a random greeting card at the grocery store. We’re on a tight budget over here, so $4 cards aren’t in my buggy. I’m talking the .99 cent cards with random animals and “Happy Birthday” inside. (I’ve been known to scratch out birthday and write “Tuesday.”) It takes maybe 4 minutes to write, address, slap a stamp and toss in the mailbox. But it makes your friend feel so loved and cherished to open their mailbox and see some encouragement. Try it—even if they live down the street.
Friendship is a two-way street, but sometimes life is just…TOUGH. Know where your friend is on their journey in life. Are they about to have a baby? Are they single? Are they starting a new job? Give them grace. Don’t harbor negativity against them if they don’t respond to your text. Do YOUR part to be a good friend and continue to be there for them.
Everyone goes through seasons where friendships almost have to be back burner. That’s okay. In those seasons, give yourself grace that you cannot be there for friends because you’re just trying to keep your head above water. Talk with your friends about a change that’s coming. A real, true friend probably doesn’t need a heads up that you’ll be MIA. But just clear the air and give a “Thank You” before she does something that helps cover your understandable forgetfulness later. Be kind to yourself, and be kind to your friend. The truest of friends know we’ll be back soon.
Take small steps, but commit to maintain these sweet friendships you have. After all, what’s that saying?
Family is forced; Friends are by choice.
So while I’m still struggling to text on time, I commit to picking up a card on my many Target runs.