At 15, getting your girlfriends together is as easy as a few phone calls. At 25, careers are beginning to take off, so it’s a bit tougher, but still doable. But by the time 35 rolls around (or more likely, bursts through the door bearing a leaky roof and a hormone shift), work, kids, pets, parents, dental appointments, grocery shopping, laundry, yard work, home work, and the quest for the perfect pest control company have taken over most of the time we once had for ourselves, let alone for our friends. For the next 30 years, snagged coffee or lunch will be a blessing, hurried phone calls or text conversations will be the norm, and girls’ night will become the Holy Grail: often spoken of in wistful, reverent tones but rarely glimpsed, much less clutched in our grateful hands.
Yet the bond between women can’t be replicated by any other relationship, and our female friends provide a much-needed support system and reminder of who we are outside of our wife-mom-employee roles. This month, we’re offering four ideas to help you fit more time with the girls into your busy schedule. Give them a try and let us know what you think.
Here’s 5 unique get-togethers to bring you and your friends closer:
Run and Fun
In addition to outings with friends, most of us are trying to fit more exercise into our schedules. Why not combine the two and benefit a favorite charity at the same time? Each woman can train on her own; the point is doing the run – or walk, or bike tour – together. You might, however, use social media or a shared app to report progress to one another. A bit too intense? Get together for a hike up Stone Mountain and picnic at the top. You can even make up your own “team” t-shirts if it fits your style, or choose matching hats or water bottles. Of course you can also schedule a regular exercise class or take a special one together as well. And if sweating isn’t your thing, consider volunteering together instead. From food pantries to women’s shelters, dozens of local charities would be glad of your help.
Working together to meet a common goal has been proven to strengthen bonds. And the fact is, everyone needs to make dinner. If you and your friends are preppers-ahead, you can save time and snag some together by holding a stock-the-freezer party. It works best if you can agree on a set of meals everyone likes and have each person take responsibility for one or two of them. Once the meals are prepared, share them out so everyone gets a complete set of freezer-ready meal kits. If someone has a big kitchen, feel free to actually do the prep together. Otherwise, each person can prep in her own kitchen and then the group can meet up – preferably for dinner out – to swap the completed packages. Or combine the two by setting your laptops to Skype (well out of the salmonella and spill zones, of course) so you can cook together virtually!
Have kids of the female persuasion? Meet up with your friends and their daughters to have an honest-to-goodness tea party, complete with pretty dresses and tiny cakes. You can choose a restaurant that serves a classic tea or hold the party at someone’s home. If you choose the latter, have everyone bring a dish and let your daughter help you pick and prepare (or shop for) your contribution. More than likely the chicklets will amuse themselves, leaving you time with your friends as well. Even if they don’t, it’s a great chance to introduce your daughters to the importance of girlfriends – a lesson they’ll thank you for forever. Don’t forget to bring along your own mom or grandmother, or borrow a neighbor who fits the bill. Interacting with women from different generations brings a unique kind of joy, and it’s another experience both you and your child can treasure.
Virtual Girl’s Night In
Gal pals can suddenly find themselves scattered across town, across the country, or even around the world. Even if all your friends live relatively close to one another, coordinating sitters can be a nightmare, and the time to commute to a central place cuts into precious together time. Thankfully, social media and online communication technologies offer us a variety of means to get together without actually, you know, getting together. Skype and Google video hangouts let you chat face-to-face despite distance and are great options for getting friends together online to do what we tend to love most: talk. Setting up a Facebook event provides a chat forum as well. No matter which platform you choose, you have the option of centering the get-together around an event such as a television show or special or a movie you all begin at the same time. Virtual book clubs are another fun alternative. No matter which you choose, virtual meet-ups create tremendous flexibility that can make the difference between whether someone gets to “go” or not.
The important point here is that all time together matters. Use our ideas to get your own creative juices flowing and come up with options that work for you and your friends. Round-robin spring cleaning? A group trip to the warehouse store? An online class that interests you all? Find what fits and give it a go. Friend time is too precious to miss.