We are social creatures. It should come as no surprise that we feel much more confident in taking on the world with a faithful entourage by our side. But what happens when we feel the network begin to loosen its ties and fall apart?
As students, we are expected to complete a multitude of self-oriented tasks every day: assignments, studying, checking email, extracurricular organizations, jobs, personal upkeep, etc. Considering all these things which consume our waking hours, how does one allot adequate amounts of time to friendships?
Similar to plants, we need to have support, nourishment, and protection from the harsh elements of the world. Some friends are like cactuses, and only need occasional attention to assure them of your unwavering presence in their lives. Others can be more akin to high-maintenance petunias, which may require an unsustainable amount of care. Petunias can be gorgeous, but sometimes we have to focus our efforts upon our own maintenance and growth.
If in possession of an incredibly busy schedule, make a conscious effort to devote a couple of minutes each day to reconnect with people you love. True friends recognize genuine efforts and reward them with positive reciprocation. Unfortunately, busy schedules have the potential to permanently alienate close friends. When experiencing a shortage of time for friendships, it is crucial to make time spent together high-quality.
Here are several ways to do just that:
- Communicate honestly and effectively – try to hold back judgment
- Don’t be hesitant to initiate hangouts – even minor things like grabbing coffee
- Be encouraging, motivating, affirming
- Remember important dates and events – write them in your planner if needed
- Refrain from being too prideful – admit and apologize when necessary
- Lean on them, but not too heavily – also allow them to depend upon you
Friendship is a fire which must be stoked occasionally. Neglecting friends can cause the flame to die. At the same time, giving too much fuel to the fire causes a deficit in energy supply, and the fire engulfs its surroundings. Keep a steady fire burning, and the hearth of friendship will provide a welcome reprieve.
The advantage of living in a college-centric town is being surrounded by people who are similar in age and pursuits! Do not squander this opportunity to make new friends – you can develop a strong sense of community with your neighbors (Bonus: you don’t have to travel far to hang out with them)!
Look here to find fantastic ideas for cheap or free activities!