Though much of our energy and time may be devoted to building our careers (and breaking through those glass ceilings), and most of "compromises" are made within our romantic relationships or the workplace, there is often a connecting thread that keeps us sane, laughing and happy: our female friendships. Our connection to fellow inspiring females can help muster courage through dark, difficult times and help us relax when we’re overly stressed or struggling to see yourself in the loving way in which we deserve.
But as we all go our own separate ways, with different priorities, responsibilities and addresses, keeping a friend group close can be a strain on everyone involved. Not only is finding time to talk tough, but standing firm on common group can be tricky, too. However, investing in those relationships is essential for personal growth and life satisfaction.
“Your friend group in your 20s is important for a plethora of reasons," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. "You have chosen them as your support system and as your comic relief during the most turbulent years of your life thus far. You are no longer in a classroom forced to hang out with each other, you are actively choosing this group to be in your life while you navigate your first job, find your first apartment, struggle with finances, and explore dating in a post-romance era. They are crucial to your sense of normalcy and are hopefully their to validate your experiences as they go through the same milestones. This friend group will forever be your barometer of what pace your life should be unfolding — so choose wisely!"
If you want to maintain these friendships, here are some ways to keep your connections strong:
1Have A Monthly Check-In
Whether it’s over drinks or at someone’s apartment when you order takeout, be candid, vulnerable and open about what you’re going through and how you can help one another. This might help dissolve some unneeded drama and petty feelings that could have stirred up over the past weeks.
“These meetings could be a time to express grievances in your own life or to discuss the dynamics of the friendship group," Rogers says. "Discuss areas of weaknesses, areas of strengths, and what all of you could do to support each other and the group better the following month. These check-ins not only serve as a way to connect routinely once a month, but it also makes sure everyone in the group feels heard and validated."
2Factor In Time To Bond
When you’re rushing to a dinner reservation, trying to make a cocktail party you all bought tickets for or dancing at a concert with music so loud you can’t talk — you don’t leave a lot of time to bond with one another. That’s why Rogers says to give yourself a buffer to catch-up pre-and-post your scheduled outings. “A lot of time friendship groups will all be invited to the same event, so it's fun to take some time beforehand or afterwards to prepare for the evening or to process it together," Rogers says. "Having a launching board or a welcoming mat for just your group creates a stronger sense of connection and a great bonding experience for all of you."
3Book A Trip
“Once a year try to get your girls together to go on a trip," Rogers says. "You guys can decompress and unwind together. A lot of friendship groups probably started in high school or college so it's nice to mentally revisit that time while you are taking a break! High school and college were probably less stressful than your current state of life, so taking a vacation can satisfy that sense of nostalgia you might all feel when together."
Easier said than done (I know) — but when you’re all disconnected from your back-to-back meetings at work, figuring out what’s for dinner with your partner and the many other demands you have, your friendships are likely to be more genuine.