I know, you’re the type of woman whose plate is spilling over the edges with obligations, and the thought of even making relationships a focal point seems absurd. And I don’t mean just romantic relationships, I’m talking about relationships period. Parents, children, partners, friends, colleagues, extended family, acquaintances, former bosses or professors, neighbors… all relationships. Seriously, though, who has time for a 5-10 minute conversation with their neighbor while grabbing the newspaper? Is newspaper delivery still around? You get the point, though, right? We don’t have time to do anything and if you ask most women what their top three priorities are, building and maintaining relationships isn’t on their list, or it’s at the top of their list. Either way, this a topic in need of discussion.
Relationships are necessary for growth in all areas of your life. They keep you honest, happy (the right ones at least), pursuing growth, and adventurous. However, not every relationship is a priority, and that is where most women fall victim to the “all or nothing” type of friend. Naturally, we are nurturers, and we want everyone to feel like we love and appreciate them the same; but unfortunately unless you married well, and have the free time to sit on the boards of social clubs, play tennis in the late morning, and meet up with your girlfriends for lunch. Your fantasy is unrealistic. A quick note to the women who do have the free time to enjoy company whenever you feel like it, don’t be offended, we all envy you.
This chart will help you determine who should be getting your time and how much time they should be getting.
These three tips that will help you build new relationships and maintain old ones.
Utilize down time to uphold relationships
When you are short on time, you have to get creative with how you spend your time. No one’s schedule is jam packed every minute of every day, but if you have a full-time job, a family or you are involved in other activities, it can certainly feel that way.
Try utilizing downtime during the week to chat on the phone to get the bulk of your relationship building accomplished.
Commuting to work or running errands
Lunch breaks or 15-minute break(s) when you need to digress during the late afternoon
Times when you are being unproductive and want to do something productive
In the morning on the weekends
Designate blocks of time during the week for your family and friends
Movie night for or special dinners every week is a great way to bond with family. To make this weekly event something to look forward to, rotate the decision makers for the restaurant or movie each week.
For parents or partners with busy schedules, take an hour before bed to talk about your day, watch a show, or designate weekly or bi-weekly date nights where you get a babysitter or put the kids to bed an hour early to have more alone time.
Family dinners, aim to have at least 3 family dinners a week where everyone sits at the table with no television, cell phones, or other distractions.
Schedule frequent group outings like dinner or brunch on Sundays every other month.
Invite people over for girls night to watch TGIT or the Bachelor and every week. For a change of scenery, designate someone new to host the gathering every week.
If you and your friends have significant others double date or go on group dates; and if you have kids, get one babysitter for both families and pay them a little extra. It makes the logistics of having a fun night out less stressful.
Incorporate relationship building in tasks you already plan on doing or hobbies you are already interested in
Think about all of the mundane tasks you must do and wouldn’t mind having a tag-along.
Exercising with a friend is a great way to build bonds, especially since it gives you someone to hold you accountable to your health and fitness goals.
If you need to study for school or work on a big presentation for work, team up with someone who has a similar work ethic and conquer together!
Need something to wear for an interview or an event, call a friend with good fashion sense and ask them to accompany you on a shopping trip.
The best way to maintain and start new relationships is to make them a priority. I am not advising that every relationship should be your number one priority, but they should mean something to you. Start exercising some of these habits and you start to realize how you and your loved ones start to become more fulfilled.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bree Cooksey is the President and Founder at Her Blank Canvas, LLC. She devotes her life to helping women become the best version of themselves, volunteering, reading, and exercising. When she isn't busy building her empire, she loves eating pizza while binge watching her favorite TV shows, and spending time with her friends and family. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @breecooksey