Have you ever left a hangout with your gals feeling like you were more in-tune with what happened on Facebook than in your IRL conversations? Or maybe you’ve caught yourself thinking about what’s for dinner while your friends discuss next weekend’s plans. Phone distractions or not, it’s all too easy to retreat to your inner world or social network in real-life social settings. Hey, we’re human! But if you want to make whatever quantity of time you have with your girlfriends quality time, read on.
A phone is a major distraction for some, but the next biggest distraction from your friends could be whatever is on your mind. You’ll get your turn, but in the meantime, it’s important to really listen to your friends. To be present amongst your friends you’ll want to employ some active listening skills. Active listening requires your full concentration on your friends and what they’re saying. That sounds easy, but I know I can easily get sidetracked in my head and start thinking about what I’m going to say back. The key is to just listen.
CARVE OUT TIME FOR FRIENDS
I cannot express how important it is to make time for your friends and make that time the only thing occupying the space. It’s one thing to show up to hang out, but another thing entirely if there’s a deadline looming that you should be working on, or if you’re in the middle of planning something with someone else. Being physically present is important, but so is being mentally present. When carving out valuable girl time, consider what else is happening around that event and make sure nothing else will cut into it! Quality is more important than quantity!
How do you consciously remain present when spending time with your girlfriends?
“A JOURNEY IS BEST MEASURED IN FRIENDS, NOT MILES.”
– TIM CAHILL
Julia and I have been BFFs for 25 years, but there’s a reason we only lived together for a single semester in college. I am a neat freak with a strict work/sleep schedule, while she prefers to plan her life the way she does her laundry: haphazardly. When it comes to road trips, however, we make the perfect team.
Whether it’s a trip across the state or a trip around the world, choosing which girlfriend to travel with can make the difference between a bridge too far and the trip of a lifetime. Knowing your travel styles and making sure they work together is key to any successful adventure. Just because your best friend doesn’t live by the same rules doesn’t mean you can’t plant the seeds for a great adventure. Try these tips for picking the best friend for your travels:
TASTE IN MUSIC
Tunage is very important in the world of travel, especially if you’re hitting the road with your girlfriend. We often have our favorite album handpicked for the road, so someone with similar music taste is always a plus. You don’t want to get stuck listening to Screamo all weekend if your favorite roadway tunes are more of the Country persuasion.
If you’re operating on a shoestring budget while your girlfriend is planning to travel in luxurious style, you may have a problem. Make sure the two of you agree on a price range for hotels, food stops, and site seeing activities ahead of time. This might mean picking a friend with a similar spending allowance as you, but one of you can also offer to spend less than you normally would as a compromise. You don’t want to arrive in Rome planning on cafes and bakeries while your partner’s imagining gourmet restaurants and Michelin stars.
PLAN YOUR ACTIVITIES
Again, Julia and I have had a few adventures together in the last two decades and if we’ve learned anything, it’s that communication about your expectations is key. You want to make sure you’re on the same page about the details of your itinerary. If you’re artistically inclined, choosing a buddy who hates museums might not be the best bet.
While not everyone makes a great travel partner, you might be surprised how well you can get to know someone just by taking a trip together. So next time you’re wondering whom to bring on that once in a lifetime experience, remember that no matter who you bring, just make sure they’re ready to have a great adventure!