a mother holds a baby while checking email

Quarterlife comes with a ton of obligations – from our day jobs, to work events, engagement parties, weddings, and family occasions that fill up our calendars. If you have a friend who’s overwhelmed with these responsibilities, and has been too busy to set a time to meet up, here are five things you can do to get your friendship back on track — courtesy of our friendship expert, Nicole Zangara.

1. Take action! 

Call up your friend and get out your planners, open your google calendar, get a post-it note — whatever you use to manage your schedule, set a date and time to make this happen.  Go as far as to schedule what you will be doing, and block out enough time for that event, whether it’s a movie night in or dinner and drinks.  When you both can agree on a date (even if it’s far, far in the future) you’re both committing to that day and time. Rather than giving or getting the excuses, you have something planned, and have given your word to each other that you’ll try your best to keep it.  Hey, our parents scheduled playdates for us, so jump on the bandwagon!

2. Check in with your friend to see if everything is okay.

Is there something going on in his or her personal life? A recent breakup or family issue could be to blame for your friend’s absence. Maybe she’s overwhelmed, and doesn’t even realize how unavailable she’s been.  Ask how your friend is doing, and see if they need some time to talk about all the stress that they’ve been dealing with. As hard as it may seem, don’t take this absence personally. We all get busy and unfortunately, our social life usually gets hit first, since it may not be the highest priority at that time (versus job and family responsibilities).

3. If your friend is always busy, and this friendship means a great deal to you, then it’s time to have a talk.

Not over text or over email, but an actual face-to-face, one-on-one conversation, sans technology, to talk about your friendship.  Tell your friend that you miss spending time together, and that you’re feeling hurt and sad that they are always busy.  Let your friend know that you value the friendship, and you want to be a part of his or her life, and vice versa.  Ask how that could be possible, discuss ways and agree on how to better keep in touch.

4. If the friendship isn’t worth your time, take a step back and evaluate whether this is worth getting upset over.

Do you keep trying to make plans with this friend, and get nowhere?  You shouldn’t be working harder than your friend, so if you’ve attempted numerous times to talk to her and to check in, move on and find some friends who value your time as well. Chances are, if she’s doing this to you, she’s doing this to everyone, and that says a lot about her character.

5. Something to note is that this situation is somewhat normal in terms of getting older.

Maybe you and your friend work opposite work schedules (the night shift versus the normal 9 to 5), or you have to do more traveling on the weekends when your friend has weekends free. Or your friend is working while attending graduate school, so her time is limited.  As we get older, we have more responsibilities and more on our plates, but it’s important to establish a balance.  We need to make time for our friends, even if it’s a check in, or a text that sends the message that you’re thinking about your friend, with an apology for being so busy. You may not be able to change your schedule or how busy you are, but you can at least let your friend know you’re thinking about her, and that you’re looking forward to your next scheduled get together, whenever that may be.
If you’re the busy one, check out our tips for how caregivers can prioritize friendships.

This article originally appeared on ThisIsQuarterlife.com

Written by Danielle Page
Danielle Page is the founder of thisisquarterlife.com because she was tired of Googling things like "tricks to assembling Ikea furniture," "how to figure out your 401k," and "can my sister be my plus one at a wedding?" Danielle's work has been featured on Woman’s Day, Your Tango, The New York Times, Thought Catalog and the Huffington Post. She's a proud cat mom of one.

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