Today I was reminded that if I don't make the time to spend with friends it will never happen. That casual "lets get together" is usually a nice way of saying "I intend to invest in our relationship if you'd be so good as to remind me." I need to make sure that I make definite plans...even if they need to be changed at least it is more tangible.
So how do I simply spend time with friends?
1) Make a date! None of this "yeah, we should hang out stuff"...nonsense, it will never happen! I am NOT a huge fan of planning in advance but found that if I say - "Hey, I'm free Monday afternoon lets get together!" I am MUCH more likely to actually see my friend!
2) Make it easy! I think too many times we get caught up in the "my house isn't perfect" or "the super-cool new water park that ALL the kids are going to is too expensive" so we don't do anything. I've decided I no longer care. (Ok, I care about the expensive part but not about if all the other kids are doing it). If my house is presentable you're welcome to come over! The only time it isn't presentable is usually when I neglect cleaning for a week...but a quick run of the sweeper (and yes, I say sweeper because I cannot get close enough to the vac word that spellcheck knows what I mean) before someone stops by usually fixes that! Or parks - even friends without kids are usually agreeable to a park so that your kiddo is occupied while you chat!
3) Make it fit your time schedule! I am one of those people that need to be alone to recharge - being around people wears me out. People I know well I could spend an entire day with and have no problem. People I don't know so well I cannot spend that long with. I need to keep in mind how much time I can invest in this particular relationship on that particular day.
4) Reschedule as needed. Occasionally something comes up for work that causes me to miss time with friends. Sometimes my kid (or me) didn't get enough sleep and just aren't pleasant to be around. Again, just be flexible. Maybe nap ran a little long so you just need to move back half an hour...maybe nap didn't happen so you need to move back a day. I think people are more likely to want to hang out with you again if you didn't make them miserable the first time so feel free to let them know that you're very sorry but today just isn't going to work.
5) Enjoy the time together. Focus on the relationship at hand. Listen to what the other person is saying and value them. Again, I tend to stress about not working when it's normal people work time and I occasionally let it show. Yes, I need to have my cell phone with me and be able to check it and yes, if my daughter comes over saying mommy mommy mommy she gets my attention first, but just be invested in who you are with!
6) When you need to get out of the house - post something on Facebook...a lot of times SOMEONE will answer the call! I've had awesome play dates for