How To Make More Time For Friends

When you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a new relationship, it can become embarrassingly easy to let your friendships fall to the wayside. While all that canoodling and date night planning can take up some of your attention, it's still relatively easy to make time for your friends when in a relationship. Sure, watching Netflix with them isn't quite the same as watching it with the person that puts hearts in your eyes, but they still have a special place in your life.

Because of that, you need to do what it takes to not let them feel like they're forgotten until the honeymoon stage is over. Even in the midst of all the excitement of a new crush, your pals need to see you from time to time in order to know that they're not just stand-ins until the next relationship catches your attention. And all it takes are simple gestures.F rom sending an email with an article you think they'll like to asking them to join you while you walk the dog around the park, your closest and truest don't need big gestures in order to know that they mean something to you. Below are 11 tips on how to make more time for friends when in a relationship!

1. Designate A "Me" Day

Even if you're in the throes of a spicy new relationship, you're going to need time off every week from canoodling to focus on yourself. In order to make sure that happens, open up your planner and designate yourself a "me" day. "This scheduled day is for you to make weekly connections with friends. Think of it as a friends 'date day/night.' As a married business woman, I don’t have a lot of free time for one on ones with my friends, but of course I never want to alienate them. So I make time every Wednesday to go to lunch or a happy hour with my friends so we can have quality time together," Amie Leadingham, a Master Certified Relationship Coach, shares in an email interview with Bustle. Having a specific day earmarked for alone time is important because it'll get you in the habit (if not force you) to keep a healthy balance between all your relationships.

2. Take Charge Of The Plans

While it might be hard to fight out of the love haze of a new relationship, often times that's not the only reason we postpone meeting up with friends. If you feel like you're avoiding your pals because they're suggesting venues you're not in the mood to meet in (or are too tired to go to,) then take charge of the plans. "People like to socialize in different ways. Maybe your friends like to go out drinking on Friday nights, or to go to the movies, but if that’s not fun for you, suggest different plans," Gretchen Rubin, New York Times bestselling author of Better than Before, offered on her blog. Don't just keep writing them off; take charge!

3. Sandwich Your Hobbies And Friends Together

Friend hangouts don't just have to involve coffee shops and martinis. Expand your options and connect the hobbies you enjoy the most with your pals. If you like crocheting, yoga, walking your dog at the park, or trying out new recipes, invite your friends along for the ride. As Leadingham puts it, it's okay to double dip! "Make a list of five hobbies you enjoy the most and pick one day out of the week to do go with friends and enjoy it," Leadingham suggests. You can have it all.

4. Send "This Made Me Think Of You" Emails

While you're spending time procrastinating online, make that activity work for you by sending "thinking of you" emails to your friends every time you pass by something you think they'd like. Some examples Rubin gave were, "'Congrats, I saw the piece about your book deal!' 'I was in New Haven — had a Greek salad at Yorkside and thought of senior year.' 'You must read this review of New Moon (caution: explicit!).'" They're all totally random, but will make your pals feel well connected to you throughout the day.

5. Start A Club

Whether it's book club or a wine tasting group, getting together with friends every week to enjoy a common interest can't fail you. "Nothing makes it easier to see a friend than when it’s scheduled on the calendar and is a recurring event. Starting a club or meet up with your friends is a great way to do this," lifestyle writer Julia Hogan at lifestyle site Verily offered. If the meetup revolves around an activity, it will be harder to blow off.

6. Pick Up The Phone

While dialing out a quick call while grocery shopping might not seem like a big enough gesture, what your friends really want from you is a little bit of contact. "It doesn’t take much time or effort to let someone know you are thinking about them so why not do it when you can. Your friends will be so happy to get a surprise text or call from you saying 'thinking of you, how are you doing today?'" Leadingham explains. Make an effort to call a friend in between errands or downtime once a week and you'll be golden.

7. Go On Group Dates

While one on one time with friends is important, there's no reason why you can't include your significant other in the mix now and then. The perfect loophole for this? Group dates. "They don’t have to be huge. One or two other couples are fine. And here’s the kicker, you don’t have to sit next to your boyfriend/girlfriend the entire time," lifestyle writer Sarah Butcherfrom Huffington Post shared. You can catch up with friends and knock out date night all in one go.

8. Split Your Night In Two

If you're deep in infatuation mode and can't seem to pry yourself away from your other half, make yourself a compromise so you don't forget your friends: Split your nights in half. "By scheduling dinner with the girls early in the evening and meeting up with the boy or girlfriend afterwards, we can have the best of both worlds," lifestyle writer Jess Constable at Lifestyle site The Everygirl explained. That way you still have quality time with your friends, but have the peace of mind knowing you'll see your bae later on.

9. Get Old School With It

While you might be getting your fair amount of phone calls in with your pals, sometimes a plan or two might slip or be rescheduled. In order to let them know you're still thinking of them, take it a step further and show them with some snail mail. "Sending a 'Just Thinking of You!' note when you live in the same city may seem silly at first, but your friends will appreciate this thoughtful gesture," lifestyle writer Monica Gabriel Marshall from Verily suggested. It'll have them smiling every time they reach for the mail.

10. Meet Up For Work-Centered Meals

If your friend works close by, suggest you grab lunch together come noon. Or if you have to work late and would rather grab dinner before meeting your beau, text and see if your friends want to grab a bite before you head home. ""An object in motion stays in motion, so if you’re trying to squeeze in socializing on a Friday after a busy workweek, make surenot to stop at home first before going out," lifestyle writer Kate Antoniades of lifestyle site Corporette offered. If you squeeze your friends in around work-centered meals, you're creating easy opportunities to meet up.

11. Treat It Like A Long Distance Relationship

Even if your friend lives no further than a block away, if it's hard to meet up for a spontaneous lunch on a weekday then it's a long distance relationship. And it'll be beneficial for you to think of it as such because it'll help you put a priority on it. "In a long-distance relationship we tend to be more conscious of the fact that we need to plan because seeing one another is a rarity," Marshall pointed out. If you put yourself into that mindset, keeping outstanding dates and picking up phone calls will become priority for you. Which will make this whole balancing thing a lot easier.

Friendship shouldn't be a chore — make time for those that love you.

Images: @nazirasacasa/Instagram