Four ways to make time for friends if you’re time poor

14 September, 2023 / words by Tracey Nash

Image via @allyiahsface

There are so many parts of adulthood that I have felt unprepared for, but the one that shocks me the most is having to schedule time in my diary to see my friends. When I was a student at Secondary school and University, I took it for granted that I could see my friends daily. Catching up on classroom gossip in between lessons, the late-night study sessions and dorm parties are all a distant memory. Now as an adult, I need to plan weeks and sometimes months in advance to see friends! Between work, family life and trying to keep up with healthy lifestyle habits, it’s easy to feel like there’s no time for anything else, especially socialising with friends. Setting aside time to socialise can often be seen as a luxury, but it’s actually just as important as the other aspects of life. Just like toddlers need a nap to reenergise themselves for the second half of their day, adults also need to balance their work, life commitments and social calendar. Let’s face it, there’s nothing like the feeling of being rejuvenated from time spent with friends, so why not prioritise it.

If you struggle to find time in your diary to spend with friends, here are four useful tips that you can implement:

Create friendship traditions

Find an activity that you enjoy doing together and be intentional in setting aside time for it. Depending on your availability, you can make it a monthly, bi-monthly, or annual tradition, and these traditions can be planned with individual friends or larger friendship groups. Some of my friendship traditions include attending Art exhibitions; live music concerts and events; annual fragrance shopping, and girls’ trips for city breaks or long-haul trips. The excitement of having recurring traditions is a great incentive to catch up with friends as often as possible.

Plan in advance

The busyness of adulthood is teaching me that there isn’t always room for spontaneity. As much as I’d love to drive to my bestie’s house on a weekday evening and whisk them away for a girl’s movie night, the reality is that they have to sit with their kids through homework and meal prep for the next day. Planning friendship dates gives you something to look forward to. I have a tradition with one friend, that whenever we meet up, we do not leave one another until we’ve put a date in the diary for the next catch up. This removes the guilt of feeling like you’re neglecting your friends and shows intentionality in wanting to spend more time with them.

Bring friendship groups together

You don’t need to wait until your birthday or a special occasion to get everyone in the same room. Group gatherings are a great way to see as many people as you can at the same time. Consider something fun that will get the endorphins pumping and release the stress of everyday life. Arrange a karaoke night; attend or host a day party; visit an adult arcade or plan an activity day. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a reason to dress up, you can host a dinner party in your home, rent a private dining room in a restaurant, or attend a live music or theatre shows together. An additional bonus in bringing friendship groups together, is that your friends will get to meet new people too. Who said it’s impossible to make new friends as an adult?

Share your diaries and schedules

I find it useful to be aware of the busiest seasons for my friends, and to share my schedules with them too. Life commitments like house renovations, wedding planning, baby preparations, and even job transitions can have a big affect on the time that you lend to friends. When my own friends have travel plans, I like to note down the dates that they are away so that we can work around their availability and still make time for each other. No two diaries are the same, but understanding and respecting one another’s schedules makes it easier to maintain friendships in the long run.


Tracey Nash


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