Sitting at the bar of the Dorrance, and after several glasses of wine, my friend Kim and I decided that we needed to see more of each other and on a more consistent basis. We both agreed that we were missing that one thing that both of us were desperately needing but not getting: quality time spent with another woman and all of the understanding, reassurance, adventure, and love that only female friends can provide.
That night out at the Dorrance had been a rare occurrence, of few and far between times, that we actually hung out and did something together without our significant others. I can’t remember who asked who or how it even came up but by the end of the night, we had decided that our relationship was worth putting more effort into and planned to have a friend “date night” once a week.
While doing some research into this blog post topic, I came across a Huffington Post blog article from 2012 that I thought nicely summed up why women need to connect with each other and the benefits of these friendships. We all have heard that friendships help us on many different levels, both emotionally and physically. Friendships enhance the quality of life, boost immunity, increase longevity, help manage trauma, and that’s only the beginning. But what struck me most about this article was what Kim and I did all the time with our friendship, we didn’t prioritize it.
If friendships can enrich our physical and emotional lives, the question becomes why so many women find it challenging to nourish them. Ruthellen Josselson, author of Best Friends: The Pleasure and Perils of Girls’ and Women’s Friendships explains that when we get busy with our work and family, the first thing we do is push away our friendships due to lack of time or energy. We lose sight of the strength we provide each other and the healing benefits we derive from our friends. As the research suggests, we need to build and maintain these important bonds to protect our physical and emotional well-being.
As for Kim and I, before we left that night we had selected when our first date would be and also scheduled it into our calendars, with reminders. We had both felt so energized and uplifted from our time spent together on that one night that we knew we needed to keep it up. So far we’ve been on about 10 dates and it has been the best damn thing either of us has done in a long time. Here are some of our tried and true tips for planning a friend date:
1. Pick a day of the week that works for both (or all of you) consistently and on a regular basis. This doesn’t have to be every week; it could be every month, or the last Friday of every month, for example.
2. Start with an activity that one of you has done before. Maybe you used to be on the swim team when you were in high school or used to love spin class, try something that one of you used to do and learn from the other person and maybe pick up a new passion of your own! Kim and I have both tried sports that each other has done when we were younger; I’ve tried rock climbing and she’s gone swimming.
3. Make a running list of things you both want to do. Volunteer, sports, new dining spots. Rotate the list and keep adding things as you think of them. Have a shared list that you can both access. Kim and I both keep a list on our phones and text each other when we think of an idea or see something we’d like to do.
4. Rotate who is responsible for planning the date. Also, rotate responsibilities. Kim and I trade off who plans each week that way we each get to decide what we want to do and the other person gets a break from planning.
5. Keep some spontaneity. Facebook events are a great place to start. Kim and I recently took a self-defense course that Kim saw on Facebook.
Do you have trouble planning time with friends? What tips do you have for making time and planning dates? Tell us in the comments!
Katie is a social media and blogging guru for a local software engineering company. She's passionate about the user experience and loves to write. She also has two awesome cats.
Photo from Death To The Stock Photo