Having lots of girlfriends with whom to share your life is a blessing, but maintaining multiple friendships can be challenging. If you aren't intentional about staying in touch with the friend you enjoyed having drinks with last week, before you know it, it could be six months before the two of you talk again. It takes even more work to stay in touch with girlfriends who have moved away. Schedule some dates on your calendar to prompt yourself to connect regularly with your buddies.
Use your calendar. After you get off the phone with a friend you haven't talked with in a few weeks, make a note to yourself to call her a week later with an invitation to lunch. This way, your closing comment of "Let's have lunch sometime" won't be a superficial statement. Write down reminders to send your friend in Buenos Aires a postcard once a month, while jotting down a note to email your cycling buddy those photos you took on your weekend ride in Cape Cod. Write down each friend's birthday so you'll remember to wish her well on her special day.
Schedule regular time to get together. Suggest that you and a few friends with common interests meet once a month for a potluck dinner. Offer to be the hostess. You'll get to connect with several friends at once, and you will all be able to keep up with what's going on in each other's lives.
Create an association in your mind between certain friends and specific activities. If you have a friend who loves to shop, make it a point to give her a call and ask her to accompany you when you need to buy a new coat or to find the right pair of shoes to go with your new dress. Call your buddy who loves reggae and let her know when the band you both love is playing at your favorite club.
Use technology to keep in touch, but don't rely on it exclusively. Send a text message to a busy friend to let her know you painted your living room the color she recommended and that it looks fabulous. Connect with your girlfriend on social networking sites so that you'll know when to send her a condolence card because her dog died or that she just finished the painting she's been working on for a month. You won't be alone -- 67 percent of people who use social media do so to keep in touch with others, reported the Pew Research Center in 2011. Use these methods to make plans to meet, as well, because as they cannot replace face time with your friends.
Write notes. Whether a girlfriend lives near or far, you can send her a cute card with encouraging words. To make your missives even more fun, get creative. Take a cue from the artists participating in the Letter Project and decorate the envelope with doodles your friends will enjoy. Send art, a clipping from a magazine or something zany like a wooden spoon with a message written on the handle.
Purchase little presents for your friends to let them know you're thinking about them. It doesn't matter if you live down the street or in another country -- your girlfriend will be delighted and will probably call you to thank you for your thoughtfulness. In his book, "The Friendship Factor," psychologist Alan Loy McGinnis points out that the thoughtfulness of a gift is more important than its price. Send a package of gel pens to your friend who has recently taken up journaling, or a bar of handmade rosemary soap to your buddy who cherishes her nightly baths.
- Pew Research Center: Using Social Media to Keep in Touch
- The Letter Project
- "The Friendship Factor"; Alan Loy McGinnis
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