We're all busy...
Let's face it. Our lives are busy. And sometimes between family and work and other obligations your friendships can slip through the cracks. Sure, you "like" their status on Facebook but when's the last time you gave them an actual phone call?
For some friends, this is totally cool. Like one of my best friends. She lives far away and I see her once or twice a year. We might not talk for months, but when we're together it's like we never left.
Other friends, if I don't personally invite them to every single event I'm participating in, they decide I must hate them and grow resentful and cold the next time I try to get in touch (Even though they haven't invited me to anything they're involved in since pretty much the beginning of our friendship). I'm expected to do all the heavy lifting and if I fail in my duties I'm not a good friend. And that's where the guilt start coming in.
Related: How Do You Break Up with a Friend?
Keeping your friendships alive...
While friendships absolutely do need upkeep, Yahoo! Shine senior features editor Piper Weiss suggests we don't beat ourselves up over falling off the face of the Earth from time to time. "A good friend doesn't take your inability to always "be there" personally," she insists. "As we change jobs and homes and relationships develop, a constant companion can turn into a once a week friend. It doesn't mean you love them less but it’s a test. If you really love each other, you'll find ways to stay connected or just know how to ask each other for company when you really need to."
If you can't meet face-to-face, stay in touch online. Instant messaging, gchat, and of course "liking" their Facebook status are all simple ways to stay involved in each other's lives. "Also group emails with friends is a good way to stay involved with a group of friends," Weiss suggests. "You never run out of stuff to talk about, the more people on the chain, the less writing and upkeep one individual has to do, but you always have a record of your friends' daily routine and can check in as needed. So when you meet in person you don’t have to spend all your time catching up."
When the shoe's on the other foot...
Try to be understanding when you're on the other end. You make the plans, she bails last minute. Is she trying to tell you something? Or just truly busy? "They may still love you but their priorities have shifted and that's okay," says Weiss. "Know that old saying 'If you love someone set them free? If they come back.... 'you get the gist."
And some friends could just be in need of a good "activity director" to get motivated. Like my friend Mary - who can always be counted on for rounding up the gang for a good night out. Even if not every night was a roaring success (Superdiamond Tribute Band anyone?) we could always count on Mary to get us out of the house--something Weiss says is important for any group of friends. "If there's a movie, get the tickets in advance," suggests Weiss. "Sometimes a friend needs a little push--it's easy to get stuck in a routine and part of being a friend is helping them out of a rut."
We want to hear from you...are you carrying your weight in your friendships? Do you have friends who expect you to do all the work? Leave us a comment!
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