Maintaining Friendships through Hectic Schedules
Our friends play an irreplaceable role throughout our lives, and this is important for individuals of all age groups. In fact, it is not only children and adolescents for whom the development of friendships is important, but forming interpersonal relationships has an equivalent significance during adulthood or old age as well, as they are especially more vulnerable to the experience of loneliness.
In today’s fast paced world, realizing the role played by friendship assumes greater significance. It would not be presumptuous to say that our friends can indeed serve as our lifeline and support system, sometimes beyond our family as well. However, it does often seem difficult to maintain friendships given the hectic schedules existing in the contemporary world.
The Significance of Maintaining Friendships
It is a more than obvious fact that without an adequate social support system, an individual is likely to feel lonely. While parents might feel lonely in their old age, a widow might feel lonely after the demise of her husband, a child who has been teased in schools might feel isolated, loneliness could be after a breakup or within a marriage, or someone might even feel lonely when being single in the midst of friends who all are with their girl/boyfriends. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if a youngster today felt lonely because he/she had lesser number of friends on a social networking site in comparison to his/her more popular peers! Therefore, the need for a strong network of social support cannot be reiterated enough. And such a support need not be restricted to your childhood, school or college friends.
Establishing friendships can actually be considered a life-long process, as you interact with a variety of individuals within your lifetime, and explore the opportunities to establish relationships with them. You could find a friend in your cousin, colleague, life partner, or even your partner’s friends! There is no end to the circle of networks available to you. However, equally important is to keep in mind the establishment of clear and strong boundaries for all your relationships, in order to prevent a violation of both your own as well as others’ need of privacy, and to ensure the establishment of healthy, mutually reciprocal and stable relationships.
Tips to Maintain Friendships Through Hectic Schedules
1. Be available: While it is not always possible to go out of your way to resolve a problem or a crisis being experienced by your friend, it is important for you to give an assurance of being there in as much capacity as possible at the time.
2. Avoid forming dependencies: This is essential both from your own perspective as well as your friends’ perspectives. It is not healthy to be emotionally, socially, or even psychologically dependent on each other.
3. Provide a listening ear: Often all that is needed is for you to be able to hear your friend out. Do not always be giving advice, but instead also try and be a sounding board for them at times.
4. Maintain clear boundaries: While friends are undoubtedly of immense importance, it is important to establish clear and strong boundaries, and not to let your own privacy be invaded. Set clear limits, and also at the same time respect the other person’s limits.
5. Don’t forget to have fun: Undoubtedly, there can be no substitute for the fun to be had with one’s friends. Therefore, do not hesitate to invest in your friendships, as true friendships can indeed last a lifetime, and can also serve as a life support in times of need!
6. Strike a balance: Last, but not the least, remember that balance is the key to life and there is no denying that the balance needs to be maintained from both sides. Whether you are the one giving opinions or you are on the other end, it is imperative that everything be said, done and absorbed with a pinch of salt. There is a need for exerting one’s own reflective thought process and utilization of prudence in making any choices or decisions. Friends are important but they cannot assume a position of omniscience about one’s life.