How To Maintain Your Friendships When You’re Newly In Love
You’re falling for someone- truly, madly, and deeply. You obsess over their texts, parsing each word for significance, and wondering if you used too many emojis in your reply. Their photos carry the weight of the possible future each time you look at them.
And in person? You just can’t get enough of their laugh, their words, their everything. You’re completely in love- which is great, but you also have to work, feed your cat and, oh yeah, you have friends who still want to hang out with you. So how do you balance new love and old friendships? Great questions breed great answers…
Do The Things You Used To Do
Friends need to know that they still have a place in your heart and life. The easiest way to do that is to keep your routines in place with your friends. Do you normally meet every Thursday after work for happy hour? Keep that tradition going strong and your friends will know for sure that their place in your life is secure.
Be In Touch In The Way That Matters To Them
It can be easy to default to your preferred method of communication even if you know a friend doesn’t like it. People like to be seen for who they actually are and communicating in someone else’s style is a fantastic way to do this. Have a friend who likes to talk on the phone rather than reply to the rapid fire texts you love to send? Set aside 15 minutes to call them instead of texting and your friend will appreciate the effort you’re making to let them know how important they are.
Plan Special Events Together
No one likes to feel left out and if you’re going on and on (and on) about the amazing time you had at the concert with Mr Right or your perfect day with Ms Wonderful, your friend might very well be feeling resentful. Check out events happening in your area in the next two months and plan one of those with your friend. This will ensure your bestie feels like they’re still at the top of your list.
Include More Than One Friend
You have more than one bestie, you say? And they’re all annoyed that your ooey-gooey love state leaves them behind? Plan an event with multiple friends! Getting all your besties together might not be the one-on-one time they were hoping for but you’ll still send a strong message that they are important to you. And you’ll probably have fun in the process.
Host A Dinner Party
Dinner parties are happy times! And they don’t have to be a lot of work. If you love to cook and entertain this is a natural way for you to bring friends together. Even if being in the kitchen isn’t your forte, there are numerous ways to have a good time with this one. Order your favorite takeout and arrange it on beautiful dishes, pick up some flowers, and pour the drinks. You can even make it a salon type evening: choose a topic that you’ll all discuss together. You might surprise yourself by learning something new about your friends.
Watch A Show Together
This is one of my favorite ways to spend time together. If there’s a show you both love, why not make a night of it? Get in your jammies, make some yummy food and enjoy weekly time with a friend. This also provides ways to connect throughout the week as you speculate about what’s coming up on the next episode. And it doesn’t even have to be in person: you can text each other during the show if one of you can’t make it.
Take A Class
Taking time to learn something new can be fun, scary, life changing. Have you always wanted to learn to speak French? Or think that making Thai food would be amazing? How about conquering rock climbing? Improv? Scuba? With a good friend by your side, you have the ease of knowing you’re not alone. Mastering your new skills will ensure that the two of you always have something in common — even if it’s just good memories!
Enroll In A Wine Club or Try A Sober Bar
Many wineries offer blending classes or special discounts to members. What a perfect way to enjoy some beverages and some friend time. But if you’re not into drinking or you’re just trying to remain healthy don’t give up on this idea. Try one of the non-alcoholic social bars that are springing up.
Join A Sports Club
For the non-athletic, going into a gym or sports club on your own can be terrifying. A much better way to get your heart pumping is to visit with a friend in tow. The enjoyment of working out together comes in many forms: accountability to one other, a friendly face in a difficult class, a ride to the gym, and someone who gets exactly how sore your muscles are.
Have A Designated Contact Time
I get it. Life is busy. It can be easy to have so much time pass without contacting friends that you may not even realize it. Add to that your free time being taken up with your new love and you have the potential for a friend to be hurt by your lack of communication. Avoid that with a keep-in-touch date. Find a time that works for you both and stick to it. Even just a few minutes of touching base can keep your friendship strong.
Hand Write A Card
I’m a sucker for thank you cards, birthday cards, thinking of you cards. If you have a friend who also loves the written word, buy a cute greeting card or a pack of note cards and pen a thought to them. Find a fun postcard at your local dive and make a date to hang out with them there. Find a repro of their favorite piece of art on a card and let them know it reminded you of them. Whatever medium you choose let your words reflect how much your friend means to you.
Send A ‘Just Because’ Gift
If you’ve exhausted the handwritten card idea, or if you just don’t like to spend the time writing to your friend, how about sending a little gift? Throughout the year when you see something you think a friend would like, pick it up for them. It doesn’t have to be anything big or over the top — just a little something that reminds you of your friend. Stay organized by having a designated storage place for these gifts and when the occasion arises, you’ll know exactly where to go and what to give.
Bake Their Favorite Treats
Dropping of your bestie’s favorite treat is a fabulous way to show them you care. Bake something they love or pick up their favorite goody and hand deliver it to them. A delicious chocolate chip cookie. A beautiful macaron from the bakery. Salted caramels. Fresh cherries. Passion fruit. You get the idea!
Volunteering can have a great impact on your community. Volunteering with your pal can strengthen your relationship. Love animals? Check out the local animal shelter together. Have a passion for the elderly or want to make a difference for the dying, the underserved, the environment or kids? There are organizations that serve all of those interests and many are in need of caring, committed people to help out. Why not you and a friend?
Play Games Online
Many game platforms have the ability to connect you with your friends via voice chat. Start an epic multiplayer adventure with one or more of them and you can enjoy time collectively in a fun, supportive community. It’s entertaining. It’s convenient. And it can be done in yoga pants.
Take A Road Trip
Real world more your thing? Load up the car with music, snacks and your best buddy and hit the road together. If you don’t have a lot of spare time, check out a local attraction. Otherwise pick a destination down the road and head in that direction together.
Have An Annual Friends Trip
I’ve been doing a yearly trip with my childhood friends for years. Those who can make it do and there’s no pressure on those who can’t. Try this with out with one or more of your friends. Choose a location that meets the needs of everyone going and plan to do one thing together that’s new to all of you. Then you can spend the rest of the time catching up and enjoying one another’s company.
Walk Your Dogs Together
Studies show that owning a pet can improve your health and happiness. Funny, so can exercise! Combine the two, add in your other best friend and get outside for quality time. Since your doggo needs walking every day anyway, why not make time to be happy and healthy while seeing your friend?
Share Your Joy
Assume that your friend wants you to be happy in your life and is excited for you to be newly in love. So talk to them about that. Without going too far or dominating the convo with “Me! Me!” Me!”, tell your friend about your newfound happiness. Share with them how grateful you are for this, as well as for their ongoing friendship. Reassure them that they’re still important in your world.
Train For An Athletic Event
When you train for an athletic event you need to put in consistent time and effort. When you’re sharing that with a friend it’s even more enjoyable. Be goofy and come up with a team name or costumes you can wear. Or be serious and know that the time you put in getting strong for the event is just as important as the time you spend to keep your friendship strong.
Reduce Stress As You Spend Time Together
When you’re stressed out you may feel like you don’t have time for anything extra. But try reaching out to a friend to work on stress reduction together. Start your own meditation group with them. Or if you’re nature lovers, go bird watching, walk through an arboretum or hike together. Focus on time well spent with moments of gratitude and quiet.
Support Their Interests
It’s easy to feel left out and isolated when a friend’s focus turns elsewhere. So don’t be that guy. Show your support of your friend by asking questions about the things they care about or by attending events that are interesting to them.
Buy Tickets For Their Favorite Thing
Surprise your friend with tickets to hear their favorite author speak. Find an art exhibition that will pique their interest. Go to a sports event together. Whatever the event, taking the time to plan it for them will let your friend know that you still have their best interests at heart.
Get A Mani-Pedi
This one is so easy. Pampering and hangout time all rolled into one fun event. Most nail salons are okay with walk-ins so this can be a spur-of-the-moment get together or a regularly planned happening. Choose a theme for your nails or make a game of who can find the best celebrity article in the mountains of magazines at your fingertips. Whichever you choose you’re sure to have fun!
Acknowledge Your Lack Of Time
Your friend is smart enough to notice that you’re not spending as much time with them as you used to. And even as their brain gets it their heart might not. Best to kindly acknowledge to your friend that you know you aren’t in their life as much as you used to be. Then follow that up with an invitation to do something you both enjoy.
Run Errands Together
I have a friend who likes to make an event of going to the store together. Why not do this with any of your errands? You’ll have time together getting to and from the place, not to mention that you’ll have someone to help you with your choices. Think of this as checking all the things off your list.
Remind Them Of The Qualities You Appreciate In Them
Most of us know what our friendships mean to us: who you choose to be in your life and why. But how often do you take the time to let the people in your world know this? A simple but effective approach to maintaining strong friendships is to acknowledge to your friend exactly what makes them the best.
Spend Time With Your Love And Your Friend
You love them. They love you. So why should it be weird to get all these people in a room together? Rather than worrying that one or both of the will be vying for your attention, focus instead on something wonderful about each relationship. Trust that everyone will get along.
Imagine The Future With Everyone In It
Because if they do get along that makes the future better for everyone, you included. It’s lovely to imagine future joys and possibilities when you’ve fallen in love and knowing your friends can still be part of that world is a good thing. Joy comes to us in many ways so make sure you’re doing everything possible to nurture that.
Remind Yourself Why You Love The Friendship
Is this person the friend who makes you laugh so hard you cry? Or never fails to have just the right advice? Or the one who challenges you and asks the interesting questions? Maybe they can be counted on to always help you pick out the perfect pair of shoes. Whatever it is, it’ll do you good to remember what makes that particular friendship so good.
Remember Who Was There For You Before You Fell In Love
When life is going exactly how we want it to it can be easy to look at the past and see it differently than how it actually occurred. If you had some rough times before you found The One (and honestly, who hasn’t) it’s likely that you turned to a friend to help you through those spots. Remembering who was there for you when you needed a shoulder to cry on can be helpful in keeping a friendship solid.
Create A List Of Things You Both Enjoy
She likes wildlife viewing and you like to go to the mall. Who says you can’t do both? Partner with your friend to create a list of activities that you each like to do and then every other week, choose one item from the lists. Make up whatever rules you want: one veto, no complaining, once a month timing, whatever. However you decide to do this, have fun with it and remember why you’re doing it.
When you’re lovestruck you might forget that other people aren’t. Or that they get lonely. Or that they miss you. Practice empathy by putting yourself in your friend’s shoes. Imagine what it would be like if you were the one feeling left behind. From that place of compassion, choose what to do next to ensure your friend knows how amazing they are.
Create A ‘Remember When’ Book
You can showcase memories of your friendship in a multitude of ways. Gather old photos and collage them into a book. Create one online that can be printed and bound for your friend to enjoy time and again. Pressed for time and want to let your friend know quickly how much you care? Make a story on an online platform that they and everyone following you can view in honor of your friendship.
Share Articles That Remind You Of Them
Maybe you both love politics or goat yoga. Whatever it is, seek out articles or blogs that refer to something that makes you think of your best mate. Then send it to them and get creative with it. Text a link, cut out a magazine article and mail it to them, or sign them up for a blog.
Start A Baby Animals Text Tradition
Because, baby animals.
FaceTime With Them
Use your time on the elliptical or folding towels to video chat with your friend. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or how often you see each other. Set a time on your calendar and be efficient with your friend time and chore time.
And Get in Actual Face Time With Them
There’s nothing like spending time in person with your friend so be sure to schedule face-to-face time every so often. You don’t have to plan anything special to make it a worthwhile venture. Sometimes just taking a moment to say Hi, Friend can keep the bonds of friendship firmly bound.
Set Realistic Expectations
In the midst of all this you might feel like you’re spreading yourself too thin and don’t have the time for your friends, your sweetheart or even yourself. Setting realistic expectations for you and for your loved ones maintains healthy boundaries. And that’s something that will help all your connections.
Ask Them How They Want To Honor The Friendship
You became friends for a reason. Remember that. Then ask your friend what works best for them to honor that friendship. Perhaps you’ve knocked yourself out trying to do a million crazy things so they know they’re still important when all they want is a text each day saying you miss them. How will you know if you don’t ask?