Where the heck did January go?!

The list of friends I want to catch up with has been steadily amassing since December, and I'm failing miserably to just keep up with everyone never mind 'do life' together.

It's been a juggling act between school holidays, weekend sporting regattas, family commitments, household chores, and business.

And I bet I'm not the only one feeling this way, huh?

Honestly, it's been tough balancing everything whilst wrestling with the rising guilt of not spending enough time with new friends - especially when I'd been so intentional about expanding my social circle last year and succeeding.

(I haven't even visited my Nana (95) on Waiheke Island yet - triple guilt! But I know you're not judging me, right?)

Like plants, friendships need regular watering to grow; otherwise, they wither from neglect and die.

But fitting in time for new and old friends alike is hard.

It's not like I can easily pop down the road for a quick coffee with them considering my hefty round-trip commute to reach civilisation.

Most of my friends, who are also in their 50s (funny that), are in the same boat with their time constraints, so they get it.

We can't always meet when we want to because our calendars don't align unless weeks out.

I rely a lot on Messenger, Zoom, WhatsApp, and email to keep in touch between face-to-face meetups. Usually making time after preparing dinner and before crashing on the couch to commence a Netflix binge.

For those times when you can't share life with friends, small efforts count.

By sending a quick message, I can be in their life in some small way, and they can be a part of mine - even for a brief moment.

Something is always better than nothing because 'nothing' does not compound to grow over time.

While face-to-face is ideal for deepening friendships, any interaction is meaningful.

I try to 'batch' my catchups - a productivity hack for friendships.

I look at my 'neglected friends' list, see who might enjoy meeting each other based on similarities, and try and arrange a group catchup.

It's not as intimate as one-on-one time, but it does mean I can see multiple friends at once, and I'm helping others meet new friends.

(Probably why I started a friendship community? Connecting is my superpower.)

I also intentionally focus on quality over quantity, investing my time and energy in a few friendships at a time instead of spreading myself thin across many.

This means setting boundaries so I can prioritise who I can see 'right now' and who I can't 'just yet'.

This approach is not without guilt, as I feel I'm neglecting others.

But staying connected with everyone all the time is impossible.

When you spread yourself thin, something's got to give. And I don't want that something to be my hard-earned friendships.

So, I block time in my diary at the beginning of each month to dedicate to friendship.

If we're due for a long overdue catchup, know that I'm not ignoring you.

You're on my mind and I'm attempting to release the pressure valve in my schedule so we can meet up in person.

That's what I really want.

To share life with my friends rather than just being a spectator to what's happening in their life.

And I'm working on it.

Friendship Made Easy in your 50s

...a friendship enthusiast helping single women in their 50s build real friendships for deeper connection, by sharing personal experience, curated expert advice, tips and thoughtful, no-fluff stories delivered to your inbox each week.

Read more from Friendship Made Easy in your 50s

I've been MIA the past few weeks in case you hadn't noticed. I decided to take a well-deserved two-week, guilt-free holiday 'cos I felt a little burned out. Then, the universe decided to enforce my resolve with two back-to-back head colds, which left me bedridden, doing nothing of any substance, wondering if I had COVID-19. (I didn't.) It was frustrating, but it offered a rare but much-needed rest. It took a while to adjust to being 'unplugged,' but I've developed a taste for it. It was so...

It's not that I didn't want to go. The spirit was willing, but the body wasn't feeling it. Even the chance of a cheap, last-minute ticket through a friend wasn't enough to move the needle. But I loathe regret. Judging by the tsunami of Facebook posts the next day, missing Pink in concert would have had me pink with envy. Overwhelmed by decision fatigue, I left it to fate... if the ticket sold on Trade Me, so be it; it wasn't meant to be. And with two hours to go until gates opened, it wasn't...

My energy was zapped as the days puffed into March. All attention was diverted to teenage woes in the home and the necessity of donning my oxygen mask first. As I crashed on the bed that swallowed me whole, feeling delirious from the 4.30 a.m. start to beat the traffic, my reality was stark. I was in desperate need of respite. Running away was not an option, so this was the next best thing. Allowing me to melt into the moment and do nothing else but "be" in a testosterone-free zone. And I...