I don't know about you, but with every passing birthday, it seems like 24-hour days get shorter and shorter. It's almost like once noon rolls around, it's a wrap for the day, because 7 PM is gonna come at me quick, fast and in a hurry. Since I barely have time to do what I need to get done on my mental checklist, it can be even harder to squeeze in a "What's up, fam?" convo with one of my peeps, no matter how much they might cross my mind throughout the day. I'm feeling overwhelmed and I'm over here single with no kids. Most of my friends are married and/or parents which makes scheduling quality time that much more difficult for them to do.
The solution? Dates. Literally going out on dates with my homies because, no matter how many good vibes, texts or emails I may send their way, in order to properly nurture my connection with them, quality time is required; in many ways, just like a romantic relationship needs it. Because when you think about the purpose of dating overall, isn't getting some quality time what it's all about?
If you're reading this and saying, "I feel you, Shellie, but I'm not sure it takes all that", do yourself and your friendships a favor. At least skim the five reasons why I think it's important to schedule some date time with your girls (and guys), at least one day a month (if you can). I think you'll see why I wholeheartedly believe that your friendships will remain so much healthier if you do.
Dating Is About Scheduling “Intentional Time”Giphy
One of my closest girlfriends has a crazy schedule. She is married with a child, has a full-time job and is a part of a billion different clubs and organizations. When it comes to my married friends, it's a personal rule of mine to not do much nighttime calling; I feel that should be reserved for them and their family. This leaves maybe talking to her on her way to work or during her lunch break. Needless to say, trying to get some quality time in is a big time challenge. That's why we try and schedule dates.
Whenever we get together for dinner and/or a movie, it's kinda cute how giddy we are. She lets her household know what she's doing so that she can set her phone to vibrate. That way, we can catch up without interruptions. It really is like making up for lost time. Plus, when we get a couple of hours in, it can "tie us over" for six weeks or so. It's a great way to reconnect so that neither one of us ends up feeling neglected in between hectic schedules and busy lives.
You Can Learn More of Each Other’s Likes/Dislikes
Earlier this year, I penned an article entitled "This Is How to Apply Love Languages to Your Friendships". I think it's an important thing to do because even friends need to learn how to express love for one another in a way that they are able to feel it the most. Well, one of the ways that you and your friends can tap into one another's love languages is going on dates that specifically center around them. For instance, if you are a quality time person, one date can focus on the two of you meeting for drinks at a rooftop bar or restaurant. Or, if your friend is primarily a gifts person, the two of you can go to a place that teaches you both how to make pottery or jewelry.
Something that I've personally learned while dating some of my friends is doing so encourages me to not be so passive when it comes to them. It reminds me that they deserve a little creativity and forethought. By trying out new restaurants or venues, we're both able to learn more about what we like and what we don't. By doing that, we are able to learn more about one another's personalities overall. Being proactive, in this way, always brings us closer.
You’re Both Able to Get “Off of the Clock”
When's the last time you were on the phone with, pretty much anyone, and you did absolutely nothing else? The last time I was able to do that was on my birthday, and it was totally on purpose. Where I'm going with this is, contrary to the popular belief that a lot of us women have, NO ONE is able to do more than two things at once and do them extremely well. This means that even when we're chatting with our friends and washing dishes or cleaning our room, we're not able to give them the full attention that they truly deserve.
Another benefit that comes from going on a date with your friends is you can get away from the demands of your hectic lifestyle. The two of you can chill out, relax and really listen to what you're saying and where you're coming from.
This point is a reminder that dating your friends is not only good for the friendship, it can do wonders for your stress levels as well.
It’s the Opportunity to Treat One AnotherGiphy
Although it took me a while to get there, I have some pretty stellar friends in this season of my life. One example is a friend of mine who, when I lost one of my main paying gigs, out of nowhere, he PayPal'ed me $400. No, he didn't loan it; he gave it (and without me asking for it). Life comes at you fast. About three months later, he lost his job. His anniversary was coming up and so I offered to get him and his wife a really nice room at a vineyard. I was more than happy to do it because when he had it, he gave; when I had it, I returned the favor. That's what friends do.
I get that none of us always have hundreds of bucks lying around to lavish our friends with. But a date is another way to treat them—to show them how much you love and appreciate them. It can consist of treating them to dinner, hanging out at a local museum, going to a concert, spending time at a local coffeehouse or bookstore, paying for you both to get a pedicure—idea-wise, the sky is the limit! Whatever it is, without even knowing your friends, I can tell you that by calling them up and saying, "Let's meet up for a bit", it will warm their soul. Just by the mere (proactive) thought alone.
You Can Do Signature “Y’all Stuff”
A lot of us are familiar with the C.S. Lewis quote, "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" When I think about all of my friends, each of us like to do things together that no one else really "gets". I get with one of my friends to eat chicken wings and ice cream (not necessarily in that order). One of my other friends and I watch period films and The Little House on the Prairie reruns (Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls was fine; you betta ask somebody!). Another friend of mine, we can discuss politics, music and gossip blogs until the cows come home. One of my closest male friends, we like to try new random stuff.
If I got all of these folks together, they would probably only tolerate the things that I like to do with only one of them. And that's my point.
Another beautiful benefit of dating your friends is you both can do the kind of stuff that no one else would appreciate but y'all. You don't have to explain, justify or rush. You can just celebrate the fact that you've got someone who "gets you" in the way that they do and spend a couple of hours together relishing in that very fact.
So yeah, date your friends, y'all. It's one of the best things that you can do to keep your friendship healthy, thriving and long-lasting. I can certainly vouch for that.
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Featured image by Giphy.