How do you ask a busy friend to spend more time with you?
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Without sounding selfish, how do you tell a really good friend that you don’t think she makes enough time for your friendship? She focuses on her professional job, her boyfriend, and on being frugal and choosy when it comes to spending and traveling—but those choices are often easy to sacrifice when it’s her boyfriend that she is traveling with. She will spontaneous go on trips with him, but won’t make the same effort with me. Deep down, I just miss her and doing things together seems to happen less and less these days. I value my friendships immensely and I know she does too, it’s just starting to feel one-sided.
First of all, your feelings are completely valid. It is definitely not ideal to be the friend that always seems to be making the effort. When these emotions arise, it’s a great opportunity to evaluate whether the friendship feels balanced. Friendships can be challenging as we get older because as we walk down our own paths, the paths of our friends may not cross in the same way they once did. It sounds like you and your friend are at that kind of crossroads, which is the perfect time to be honest with one another.
Spending quality time with my friends is deeply important to me, and I have often experienced these same feelings. My personal approach to friendship has evolved as I have gotten older. I’ve found that my strongest friendships are with the people I’ve had to have tough conversations with. When we are honest with the people we love, we’re not only showing up to let them know how important they are in our lives, but we’re showing up for ourselves. This is an act of self-care; it’s not a selfish act by any means.
Start by writing a letter to your friend, one that you will never send, but as a therapeutic way to get all of your thoughts down on paper. Read through it and consider what is most critical in your friendship. Take note of any themes you notice in your frustrations. From there, reach out to your friend and see if you can set up a chat. Let her know that you have some things on your mind to talk about so that she’s prepared for a more serious conversation.
Then, get honest with your friend. Let her know what has been missing for you. Try your best to keep the tone a collaborative one instead of assigning blame. Put yourself in her shoes and see how you can frame your frustrations in a way that won’t make her defensive. Let your friend know that you are coming from a place of love, and that you miss her and the things you used to do together. Offer actionable steps for her to take to make you feel more comfortable. And ask her what she might be missing from you.
Allow the conversation to be one that opens the doors for you to explore growth together. When my best friend moved away, we started writing letters to stay connected. Maybe you can suggest weekly check-ins or some form of consistent connecting that you can both agree on.
Just know that this is all part of the growing process. Hopefully, you two can come out even stronger with a deeper sense of what the other needs.
Wishing you luck and sending love in finding peace with your loved one!
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Courtney Jay Higgins is the Associate Editor at The Good Trade. She is also a Yoga Instructor, vegetarian, wellness and fashion enthusiast. Originally from Colorado, her soul found California when she came to get her degree in Visual Communications at the Fashion Institute Of Design & Merchandising. She has a background in telling a story through writing, creative direction and content creation. Check out her blog and Instagram for her unique perspective on the mergence of fashion and spirituality.