When the spirit of spring takes hold, we find ourselves wanting to clear the clutter from every area of our lives. We don’t just long to dump the junk from our closets and dust the corners that were barely noticeable in the dark days of winter; we want to streamline our lives in more meaningful ways, too. Shasta Nelson of GirlFriendCircles shares tips on how to strengthen our existing friendships and cast off the ones that aren’t working anymore.
When we’re crazy busy but still want to maintain the friendships that we treasure, first thing’s first: how can we keep those relationships that we treasure going strong?
Consistency is key. Instead of the scheduling emails that can go back-and-forth for a week (“I can’t do Tuesday but are you free for Wednesday lunch? How ’bout two weeks from next Thursday?”), set one regular date and stick to it. Nelson suggests making a standing date for brunch the third Saturday of the month, or cheap manis every other week.
Get deep. Our friendships sustain us not when the conversation skims the surface of boyfriend updates and work woes, but when we feel like we’re connecting with someone in a meaningful way, being heard and understood. If you can’t talk about the meaning of life face-to-face without feeling like you’re in Philosophy 101, turn it into an email exchange, suggests Nelson. “Email each other a question to answer like what are three things you wish you had more of in your life, what is one of your favorite childhood memories, or what is one thing about your life that surprises you right now?”
And what about those toxic friendships? You know the ones. Either you have a friend who has turned terminally negative, doesn’t support your dreams and endeavors, who frequently breaks plans or causes you more stress than joy. Sometimes a real friend can practically turn into a frenemy. How can we spring clean those relationships without guilt?