How to juggle family life and friends
Family life can be busy. It brings extra commitments, extra people to think about and extra responsibilities. In the lovely madness of it all, it can be easy to get so busy that friendships start to fade. It is a fundamental emotional need in humans to have strong social connections and to feel part of a community. Not having those strong connections is actually bad for your health.
I get a lot of messages from women that have had children and feel lonely because their previous friendships have changed. There are always ways to solve problems with friends. Big life events do have an impact on friendships and changes are natural but don’t necessarily mean friendships have to end. Friendships will change but there are ways to ensure friendships grow with these changes and remain nourished. Your new family lifestyle will also bring plenty of opportunities to make new friends. Here are 5 easy ways to juggle family life and friends so that you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
5 easy ways to juggle family life and friends
Create friend slots into your week
By incorporating friend slots into your week will ensure you get time to be you. It’s really helpful to make this the same time each week so that you can plan ahead. It gives you time to arrange childcare, gives you something to plan and most importantly something to look forward to. Encourage your partner to do the same so that you both get time with friends weekly. Being too busy for friends is never an excuse to not see friends and a simple change in priorities will solve it. Also it’s good to remember a catch up doesn’t have to be for a full day. A simple hour out for coffee is great too as well as dinners.
Keep family life separate and try to eliminate it being a main conversation topic when you see friends
Family life is wonderful but can be consuming too. It is lovely to tell stories, discuss your family and share your worries with friends because it can be helpful to get an external opinion on things. Just be conscious that you don’t use all of your time doing this. This is your time to be free, happy and have some fun. There are definitely things not to talk about with friends. It can be really helpful to ban friend topics with your friends so that you can keep yourselves from falling into the trap of discussing everyday life.
Be fully present when you spend time with friends
There is nothing worse than going on a friend date and they keep checking their phone, worrying about what’s going on at home or not really engaging in the conversation – don’t be that friend. Tell your partner/babysitter where you’ll be so that they can contact you in an emergency but apart from that put your phone away, relax and enjoy. The world isn’t going to end in the few hours you’re out and the more you practice friend dates the more you’ll love the time away. You’re allowed time away to have fun and be you as an individual, this is your perfect opportunity to do so.
Make being a good friend a priority
Family life is busy but you have to put effort into your friendships too. Never use family as an excuse for not wanting to do something or not replying to messages. Be honest with your friends and they will appreciate it. Set expectations, for example if you’ve got a busy week coming up tell your friends you won’t be around much. Set yourself phone reminders of important things that are going on in your friends’ lives and listen to the things that they tell you so you can follow up conversations. This will really make them feel valued.
Never be too busy for a friend in need
If you have a friend in need, do everything you can to be there for them. Send them messages to let them know you are thinking of them, make an effort to see them more and be kind. Although you may have extra responsibility of family, friends will always be there for you too. Invite them round, catch up over a quick cuppa and just let them know you’re there to talk if they need you.
A balanced life is a happy life and this includes taking time for yourself, investing in your friendships and keeping your identity. I hope you’re feeling inspired you to reach out to your current friends, create a circle of loyal friends and spark up your social life so that you always have wonderful people in your life and exciting things to do. This is a massive part of your wellbeing and in turn will create better connections at home too.