The Simple Tip That Can Help You Keep In Touch With Friends As An Adult

As we get older, trying to keep friendships alive is increasingly difficult. It's not just about friends having families of their own, but life in general can stand in the way of making time for the people we love. But the problem with this is that we need our friends. In fact, we need them so badly that our emotional and mental health depend on it. 

According to a 2018 study published in Genus, life satisfaction is very much dependent on our friendships. As the research found, how often friends interact and the quality of those interactions play a role in anxiety and how we handle stress. Those who make time for their friends and have a support network are less likely to experience anxiety and, should a stressful situation arise, those with close friendships are better equipped to handle it. So, sure, friends are lots of fun, but they're also very necessary. 

Because keeping in touch requires such an effort as adulthood sets in, implementing the First Sunday rule can help you keep those connections. With the First Sunday rule, you're less likely to lose touch with your buddies and your life satisfaction will be better for it.

What is the First Sunday rule?

When it comes to maintaining friendships, Alexia Dellner at Pure Wow decided that the first Sunday of every month would be a day that she would reach out to a friend and catch up. Although you don't have to do it the first Sunday of every month — you can do it the second Thursday of every month, for example — you just need a time that you set aside for your friends.

"Whether that's meeting for lunch, responding to texts in a timely fashion, or scheduling a Zoom happy hour, it's important to set aside time to connect with one another," couples therapist Mac Stanley Cazeau, LMHC told WebMD. It really doesn't matter how you and your friend choose to spend your time with each other as long as you do it and put quality over quantity. If there's anything we took from Covid it's that we can have fun with our friends, like over Zoomtinis, even when we can't be in the exact same place at the same time as them. If your friend is on the other side of the globe, or a few blocks up the street but has a napping baby so they can't stop by, technology is there to save the day in its own way.

How it works and the benefits

It's actually quite simple. Just pick a day of the month (or every other week) that you'll devote to your friends. You can interact with just one friend at a time or a group of friends. As long as you're consistent about it and make sure you never miss your scheduled friend time, that's all it takes — and you'll be happier for it.

"Humans are hardwired to connect and social connections are an essential part of good health and well-being — we need them to survive and thrive, just like we need food, water, and oxygen," geriatrician Dr. Scott Kaiser told Medical News Today. "Social isolation and loneliness have negative health impacts on par with obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and are associated with about a 50% increased risk of dementia. Simply taking a moment [to] connect with someone — even through a brief phone call — can reduce feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression, and deliver brain-protecting benefits."

Even if you don't have lots of time to share, just reaching out and letting your friends know that you're thinking about them is something. It's about reminding people that you're still in their life and they're still in yours despite the fact that life sometimes gets in the way of being able to spend time together.

How to implement it

In order to make the First Sunday rule (or whatever day you've chosen) work, you need to put it in your calendar so it becomes part of your schedule. Decide on a block of time that works for you and when you think it's most likely that your friend will be available for a few minutes. Even if your friend doesn't pick up or respond to a text, don't feel defeated. Instead, reach out to another friend you haven't talked to in a while. Eventually, your friend will get back to you when they can, and should it take weeks or months, that's okay. You've let them know they were on your mind and that's what this ritual is for more than anything. 

Once you've made this part of your schedule for a few months, it will just naturally become a habit. You'll instinctively find a quiet place to reach out to friends just for a chat, texting session, or FaceTime. It's a really simple way to keep your adult friendships alive and make sure you don't lose those who are important to you.