I’ve been so busy lately that until this past week, it had been a full month since I’d last blogged. I’ve also been neglecting lots of other things: my workout routine (though I got sidelined for two weeks with an ankle injury, so I’m blaming that), my reading list (no matter how much I read, that thing never shrinks), my continually depressing house-hunt (even I think my budget is laughable), and most distressingly – my friendships.
My friends are a very important part of my life. They make me laugh, keep me adventurous, call me on my nonsense, and are there when I need them, whether it’s volunteering at an event for the nonprofit where I work, or binge-watching Gilmore Girls for the thousandth time.
I am blessed with excellent friends who inspire and challenge me – they are smart, funny, open-minded, hard-working, spirited, and interesting people. I would argue that my friends are some of the best people on the planet – and I value their friendships immensely.
But when I’m super busy, my friends sometimes get pushed to the bottom of the list. I think that most of them – wonderful people that they are – realize that I’m not neglecting them by choice. But regardless of my intent, the unfortunate fact remains . . . I am often “the busy friend.”
I know that I am not alone in this dilemma, (many of my friends are equally busy themselves), and so I wanted to share a few thoughts that may resonate with my fellow over-schedulers:
- I am immensely grateful for you. If you are in my life, I care about you. In fact, I’m often so stupidly busy that if I didn’t care about you deeply, I definitely wouldn’t be spending my time (little as it may sometimes be) talking and hanging out. I value your time and your friendship. I know that you are busy, too, and I am thankful for whatever moments we can steal.
- Sometimes I have to multi-task. I may not be able to FaceTime you, but if you call me when I’m driving home from work, we have forty uninterrupted minutes to catch up on our lives. And sometimes I can squeeze in that last-minute dinner, but I have to answer a few work emails as they come through. I don’t love it either, but I like it more than foregoing a conversation with you entirely.
- Please keep asking anyway. Here comes the old cliché . . . it’s not you, it’s me! But really, sometimes you’ll ask me multiple times in a row to hang out, and I’ll keep having to say no. I promise you, I’m not trying to shake you off. I’m a straight shooter and I really do want plans to work out. We will eventually find time, so please don’t give up on me before we do!
- Advance notice is great! I live and die by my calendar. That thing rules my life. If you and I pick a date to do something, come hell or high water, I will be there. It’s the last-minute stuff that throws me through a loop.
- I love it when I’m not the one making the plans. Oh. My. Goodness. This one is so true. I think perhaps because my friends know we sometimes have to work around my schedule, and because I’m super Type-A, I become the default planner. I really don’t mind, but sometimes it’s nice not to be the one wrangling the group texts, making the reservations, and coordinating pickups. To all my friends who initiate dinner dates, movie nights, happy hours, brunches, and more – you da real MVPs!
- Sometimes I need down time. Occasionally, I just want to chill by myself with a book and a bubble bath, or have a sweatpants and pizza night with just one other person. I am not trying to leave you out, I just need to recharge.
- I can pick up where we left off. Even if I haven’t seen you in years, I am totally fine with jumping right back into it. I get it – sometimes you need to focus for a bit, and circle back when your life is less chaotic. I’m really glad that you’ve learned how to strike this balance, and I’m happy to pop back into your life whenever you have the time.
- I wish I could split myself in two all the time. Ughhhh not put out weird Voldemort vibes, but I frequently wish that I could be in two (or five!) places at once. This often leads to futile attempts to cram everything in. Occasionally it works, but often I wind up running 10 minutes late to everything, because I’m mad-dashing from the thing before it. I am not good at saying “no,” even when it’s in the best interest of everyone, but I’m working on it. Please know that when I do say “no” it’s usually only after I’ve exhausted all other possibilities, and wished (once again) for Hermione’s time-turner.
- I will ALWAYS be there for you. I mean this one to my very core. If you 911-level need me, I will drop everything. And if it’s 3am on a Tuesday and you somehow wound up turning happy hour into too many hours? I will come pick you up from wherever you are. Terrible breakup? I’ll bring the cheap wine and chocolate ice cream. Last-minute wardrobe crisis? I will help you raid my closet or the closest store. I will remember your birthday, read over your resume before you go for that new job, and stalk your blind date within an inch of the internet. I will not be perfect, and I will not always be as good of a friend as you deserve, but I will always, always be there.