Some new parents, especially if they are among the first in their circle of friends to have a child, may find it difficult to stay in touch with their friends who do not yet have a child. It’s rarely intentional. Life simply changes. However, the change in the demands on one’s life doesn’t mean that you have to kiss your old friendships goodbye.
Here are some ways to bridge gaps and stay connected with friends, whether or not they have kids:
- Plan daytime activities that include your child. You’ll be able to spend quality time with your friend as well as arrange to return home before your child’s nap time or bedtime.
- Start a new tradition or approach. Perhaps you and your friends used to enjoy a night out, but now that’s not as easily done or realistic. Try starting something new, such as weekly coffee, or a dinner date once a month, or maybe an annual getaway.
- Open the door to family events. Your family is who you make it – you don’t have to be related by blood. Invite friends to family events and make them feel at home. Let them become “aunts” or “uncles” to your children, to help foster a relationship between them and your kids.
- Enlist social media. Using social media can help you to stay involved in each other’s lives when schedules or distance don’t permit in-person time.
- Make a phone call. Chatting on the phone can go a long way toward maintaining a warm relationship. Look for opportunities to multitask, such as phoning a friend while you’re cooking dinner, dusting, or doing the laundry.
- Surprise someone with snail mail. It’s still a way to stay in touch that says “I care” – and that won’t get buried in a slew of emails. Snail-mail your friend a postcard, greeting card, or even a delightful “old fashioned” letter.
Friendships require nurturing, and the foundation of enduring friendships is communication. Let your friends know how much you care about them, even if you aren’t able to spend as much time together as you would like and once did.