(My girlfriends and I at senior dinner @ USC)
As we get older, life seems to just get busier. Sometimes it seems like the flow of life is going at the speed of light. On top of that, once we graduate or move from one stage of our lives to another, everything seems to get more chaotic. Consequently, it’s harder to maintain relationships. If you’re struggling in these areas, or think you will, I’m offering you some tips on how to maintain your relationship all around. Hope this helps!
HERE’S YOUR 7 WAYS TO MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIPS
1. Make time.
When you enter college or the “real world,” it’s easy to get so caught up in your new responsibilities that you forget to make time for brunch, random beach trips, and Saturday night Netflix dates with your friends. Don’t look up after two years wondering how so many of your friends got promotions, engaged and started families while you were too busy scheduling conference calls, attending club meetings and flying to conferences. Believe me, your emails aren’t going anywhere. Spend your time wisely.
2. Call people back.
In high school it’s so easy to stay on top of relationships because your life revolves around your relationships. When you enter college and beyond, it becomes a little more difficult to manage the people in your life. Checking your voicemail, returning phone calls from friends you no longer see every day, texting back…it all becomes more of a chore after high school. The trick is to keep a circle of friends you don’t mind stepping away from the computer to talk to. Communication is important. Make the effort to check in.
3. Decrease your circle.
In high school, the more friends you have the better. Beyond high school, you learn to value relationships on a deeper level. Everyone doesn’t deserve to be in your inner circle. It’s okay to lovingly and respectfully outgrow friends, which in turn makes room for new ones. In order to maintain relationships worth maintaining, keep your circle small.
You matter. Make time for others, but don’t neglect you. Trust me, you’ll be a better friend if you don’t cross yourself off your priority list.
5. Spend time alone.
What does this have to do with maintaining relationships, right? Actually, a lot. If you never spend time by yourself, it’s likely that you have no idea how awesome you are. Thusly, you probably have no idea how awesome you deserve to be treated as a friend/girl or boyfriend. Alone time helps you not sell yourself short. It’s also just fun reconnecting and evaluating your relationships.
6. Consider others first.
This is a challenge because we’re often told to love ourselves before anyone else. While that’s a noble concept, being a good friend sometimes means loving others first. It means that in the midst of your studying, meeting and planning, you might have to consider your friend who just had a breakup. You may have to drive to his/her house in the middle of the night to console him/her. You may even have to ask for an extension on that paper you were working on. Relationships aren’t always convenient, but make sure they’re always worth the sacrifice.
7. Evaluate regularly.
Set aside some time to evaluate your relationships. In high school, this doesn’t really matter because relationships, romantic or otherwise, are fickle. After high school, as you’re working toward lifelong connections, make sure you’re connecting with the right people. Ideally, you’d want to be surrounded by people who inspire you AND people who are inspired by you. You’ll quickly learn that the burden of unhealthy relationships is draining and demanding. Conversely, the beauty of building lasting relationships is incredibly rewarding.