Finding Time for Friends

May 28, 2010 | By | Comments (0)

Friendship is on my mind this week.

4 Reason #1: I'm reading Jefferey Zaslow's The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship.

Reason #2: My birthday earlier this week meant friends old and new were sending cards, e-mail wishes and texts. I even received a phone call from my longtime friend Heather (whom I met in kindergarten).

Reason #3: My friend Kristin and I are sneaking away this afternoon for an early showing of Sex and the City. The release of the movie is being celebrated as a national holiday for girlfriends, even if the critics have all panned it.

With my move just a few weeks away now, I've been thinking about my friends daily. I've been squeezing in visits, making dates for coffee and scheduling long overdue lunches. As I pack my house I'm culling through old photos and taking solitary walks down memory lane. Last week I came across a pile of snapshots from my bachelorette party, wedding and baby shower. So much has changed since then: my hair, my waistline, the lines on my forehead. And yet I'm still friends with many of the women in the pictures.

In his book, Zaslow says sociologists now have data showing that women who can maintain friendships through the decades are healthier and happier, with stronger marriages. "Not all women are able to sustain those friendships, however…as they reach adulthood, everything gets harder," Zaslow writes. "When women are between the ages of 25 and 40, their friendships are most at risk."

Seems obvious, right? The busier we get with our own lives, the harder it is to find time for nurturing friendships. Some friendships seem to stay healthy and grow no matter what, while others tend to require lots of care and feeding. And then there are those that simply wither on the vine because they've become too "high maintenance."

So how much time should you spend investing in your friendships?

According to Dr. Irene Levine, author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving A Breakup With Your Best Friend, the amount
of time women want to or can spend on friendships varies greatly. "While
there is no set formula or prescription for how much time is enough,
carving out time to create and maintain friendships is a vital
investment in a woman's physical and emotional well-being," she says.

"Every woman
needs to find her own sense of balance. Because women tend to care for
others, they need to consciously figure out ways to nurture their

Are you conscious of the time you spend with friends? Do you have some friendships that could use a little more nurturing? Check out Irene's friendship blog for tips and suggestions on how to enhance your friendships. Then pick up the phone this weekend and invite a gal over for a long overdue chat. You'll feel better for it!