The “First Sunday” Rule Is My Secret to Maintaining Friendships as an Adult

Remember when you would come home from school after spending all day with your friends and immediately get on the (house) phone to call your bestie and shoot the shit for a couple of hours? Or if you wanted to talk to Ashley H. and Ashley B., you would tie up the phone line by logging on to the internet and getting on Instant Messenger. No matter what day it was, you knew exactly what your friends were having for dinner, how much homework they had left to do and what everyone was going to wear tomorrow. Life was good!

Fast forward to being a grown-up. Between work and kids and the pile of never-ending laundry on the floor, I don’t even know what I’m going to eat for dinner tonight let alone what my friends are up to. It’s sad but true that I often find myself going weeks without talking to some of my closest pals. (This weekend I’m going to a friend’s daughter’s fourth birthday—she’s 4! When did that happen??) But this is what happens when you grow up and have boring things like bills and grocery shopping and emails that take up so much of your time. And I know you can relate. You’re busy too!

But over the years, I’ve incorporated a little monthly routine that helps me stay in touch with my friends and family. It’s by no means revolutionary, but it is effective.

Every first Sunday of the month, I set aside some time—this can be as little as 10 minutes or when my kids miraculously nap at the same time it may even be an hour— to reach out to a friend that I haven't spoken to in a while. I’ll text or email or even pick up the phone (remember phone calls?) just to say hi.

Sometimes they’ll respond right away, and we’ll get into a back-and-forth conversation, complete with photos, memes and links to recipes that our kids will actually eat. And sometimes they don’t get back to me for a few days or weeks or even at all, and that’s OK. The point isn’t necessarily to be completely caught up on their life, because, well, they’re busy too. But it’s a small act that simply says, ‘I miss you and I’m thinking of you.’

And like everything that’s good for you (exercise, vitamins, social media breaks), you have to make this ritual part of your routine in order for it to succeed. I don’t even have to put it in my diary anymore because it’s instinctive—first Sunday of the month, reach out to a friend I haven’t heard from in a while. It’s short, simple and sweet.

Would it be nice to connect with these friends more often? Yep. But at least where I am in my life right now (see: giant pile of laundry that will not go away), it’s just not possible. Maybe one day we’ll get back to wiling away the afternoon on the phone, talking about the latest must-see flick at Blockbuster but until then… a quick message every first Sunday of the month will have to do.

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