by Marissa Russell
Having a strong social support system is critical to our emotional and psychological wellbeing, yet when we become active in our careers it often slips to the bottom of our priorities list. It is time to retire the age-old excuse of, “I’m busy” and acknowledge that you have been using that as code for “I am not making socializing a priority.”
Here are 5 excuse-proof ways busy professionals can make time for friendships:
- Video chat. The fact that your best friend lives on the other side of town is no longer a valid loophole to continue living as a hermit. Video chatting eliminates any geographical excuses. As long as you have a phone or webcam, you can see each other’s faces, hear each other’s voices, all while in the comfort of your own home or whatever environment you choose.
- Immediately pull out your calendar when the topic of hanging out comes up. How can you expect to ever successfully meet up with friends if every time an idea for a prospective meeting comes up, you procrastinate on finding available times? If you are truly serious about “having lunch sometime,” pull your calendar out and schedule it on the spot. Even if the person you are talking to can’t give you an exact time that would work best, you can at least jot down some prospective days or weeks so you can have no excuse letting it slip your mind.
- Join a social group. Think about one of your favorite hobbies and find a Meetup group, club or organization in your community that revolves around that to join. The regular meetup times and the expectation to be consistent will motivate you to prioritize socializing.
- Replace an unfulfilling and nonessential activity that you do regularly with socializing. We all want to believe that all of the things on our to-do list are irreplaceable and important, but if you conduct a brutally honest time audit, you are likely to find a few activities that you have been “busy” with that don’t matter and don’t ultimately enhance your life. Ruthlessly eliminate those activities and instead of looking for another empty time-suck, use that freed up time to spend with the people that care about you.
- Assess the activities you do that would be enhanced by including another person. Maybe the reason you are struggling to make time for friends is because you make traditionally inclusive activities, exclusive. There is no need to scramble to find a time slot for socializing if you are already participating in numerous activities that are suitable for companions. Some great opportunities to include friends are exercising, eating, running errands, or religious services if you practice. Let people join you in the things you already do and you will never have to “make time” again.
Marissa Russell is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping high-achieving career women find fulfillment beyond their professional lives. Her life coaching services can be found at http://www.thehighachievingwoman.com