When careers get busy or families start growing, the first thing to fall to the wayside is, often, friendship. That’s why ages 25-40 are the “friendship danger years.” Historically, if you could keep a friend through those years, you could count on being friends for life. That might be a bit different now that women are having kids later, but the general sentiment is that by 40 your kids don’t need 24/7 attention, your career has figured itself out, and you start to realize the importance of BFFs.
At 29, I find myself smack in the middle of this danger zone. I don’t have kids yet, but this is a big year for my career so a lot of my energy is spent working on my book and building a writing network. Not to mention the gazillion out of town weddings we’re attending. I love weddings (I’ve been known to rock the dance floor, just saying) and I wouldn’t miss the big day for any of my friends. But weekends away inevitably mean less time for the local friendships I’m trying to build.
My coping mechanism–or maybe it’s a defense mechanism–for this danger zone is to continue reaching out to friends and making plans whenever I can. It’ll occur to me that I haven’t seen Friend X in a while, so I’ll shoot her an email and get something on the calendar. I’m lucky to have monthly clubs–book and cooking–to ensure catch-up time. And when I know I can’t see someone, if she’s traveling or I’m traveling, I try to write emails.
What I’m wondering, though, is this: Is there a more interesting out-of-the-box solution to combating the friendship danger years? When your job is demanding and, maybe, your kids are moreso, are there tricks for carving out girl-talk time? After all, these are the years that we need friends most: they keep our marriages safe and our health in tact. They preserve our sanity. So I’m turning to you, readers, to see if anyone has fun tips or traditions that ensure they see their friends amidst the craziness of life. Maybe one night of the weekend, your partner babysits so you get to see the girls? Or you host a movie night once a month? Perhaps you started a kids playgroup just so you could see the other moms?
People are constantly requesting out-of-the-box tips for finding friendship time, so I figured I’d take it to the front lines: You. How do you make time for pals when work, family, and errands are all vying for your attention?