As I have gotten older, and continually get further away from my undergrad years when now it feels like I had all the time in the world, I find I have to work harder at maintaining old friendships and nurturing new ones. Full-time jobs, children, schoolwork (again!) and general adult responsibilities seem to overtake myself and many of those that I know. We say we should “get together soon” but it hardly happens because something always manages to come up. I imagine this dilemma is not unfamiliar to Duchess Kate. Between her full-time job, her lovely little cherubs and maintaining her home, she has just as much on her plate. However, Duchess Kate strikes me as the type of friend who is always there for those she is close to. I like to think that she does little things to remind those in her close circle that she is thinking of them and appreciates them. How does she do this? How does she juggle fostering relationships with all else that must be done within a twenty-four hour time frame?
A couple of months ago I attended a networking event which focused on nurturing relationships (both personal and professional) during which the speaker discussed what she called a “30 Minute Drip”. The idea is to spend 30 minutes a week reaching out to a friend, or friends, where you want to nurture that relationship. Like a little water from a watering can, your little “drip” is intended to let the recipient know that you are there and are thinking of them and to help the relationship grow. I imagine that Duchess Kate ensures that she takes time out of her busy week to check in by perhaps the following.
Who doesn’t love spotting a lovely letter waiting for them amongst bills and circulars? It could be a little note you drop in the mail to congratulate a friend on a new home or a birthday card. Perhaps it’s a hilarious comic clipping that instantly reminded you of them.
I remember when I was a new mom and I would receive texts from friends that I hardly spoke with but they still took the time to tell me that they were thinking of me and hoped that everything was going well and invited me to reach out if I needed anything. I can’t express how much that meant to me. A text doesn’t have to induce a long conversation. Sometimes just a message of inspiration to a friend who is going through a difficult time could be all that is needed.
3. Meaningful Days
Keep track of important days to those in your circle such as wedding anniversaries, birthdays, days when you know they are going in for an operation, or anniversaries of a loved one’s passing. Many do not share these events on social media so it means even more when you remember. I have marked in my personal calendar the day a close friend’s mother passed away so that I never forget to tell her that I am thinking of her on one of the most difficult days she faces during the year.
4. Take Action
If you find yourself falling into the catch-all phrase of “We should get together soon” with an friend, arrange a date within the next forty-eight hours even if it’s a plan you make for weeks down the road. Who knows – you might even make a tradition! Perhaps you don’t see a particular friend often during the year but you always go Black Friday shopping no matter what!