When You Don’t Have Time for Friends

Make Time for Friends

I don’t have time for friends.

It was a cloaked excuse, one that hid me from expecting eyes. I talk about it here, how thirteen years ago I said those words to most who tried to get close, but in particular to this one beautiful soul—this girl who later became an irreplaceable friend after scaling my hard, high walls. I share how as a hurting introvert I later blossomed into a true connector who craved authentic heart-deep relationship.

But now, these many years later, those same words haunt me.

I don’t have time for friends.

No matter that the reasons today are much different, I’m right back here.

Although girlfriends and peer relationships became an integral part of my life, my days pass way too quickly now, convincing me there is literally no time. Alongside my growing list of responsibilities to others, I’ve chosen to invest {24/7} in a precious one who struggles with sensory issues and unhealed hurts.

So I often turn them down, those opportunities to escape with my husband, the girlfriend dates at the local café, and even those simple Skype chats and Google hangouts with others.

The very connections that have fired my heart passionately these last few years now burn a searing guilt because I have no time for them. It feels such the ordeal, too hard to plan, too difficult to see through. Why does it feel such a crime: this need to swap those stories of stress and worry and celebration with someone who gets me?

I need my “friend fix.”

I imagine you feel it sometimes too, this loneliness for the ones who see past our smiles into the fatigue and hurts.  

Why does it seem so hard to make this time to relax and recharge with those we love?

As I finally sat quiet this weekend with an unguarded heart, I grabbed these thoughts that flitted through, these ways I could be more intentional about my relationships.

1. Focus more on the friend, not the task of connecting.

Remember the fun times. Remember what it was like the last time you were together with your girlfriends? The laughter, tears, and dreaming together, the staying up til two a.m. {when you needed to get up at six}, the smile that comes to your face even now.

2. Push past the fear of commitment, of letting someone down if you have to change your plans, and schedule that date. Get it on the calendar just like anything else.

Remember the times we’ve told friends {with the best of intentions}, “I’ll call you,” but we don’t. It simply doesn’t happen most of the time. Not in my hectic crazy anyway. Get a date on the calendar and do your best to keep it. Guard that time as sacred as picking up your daughter from school or meeting your husband for dinner. Important relationships deserve intentional commitments.

{Here’s a shout-out to those still commitment shy: please don’t give up. If you find yourself with even a few extra minutes one day, consider dropping in on one of your friends. Now as a rule I normally despise drop-ins; I simply don’t like being caught unaware. But sometimes a simple text to let a friend know I’m in the area with a free minute and would love to pop in if they are interested actually works.}

3. Take your friend along on those pesky errands.

We have to run the errands anyway, why not make them a little more fun? Ring a friend and invite her to go to the gym with you, to sit in the wait at that doctor’s office alongside you, or to even run to the bank. Not only do your tasks go quicker, you get the added bonus of reconnecting.


I’m learning this, how the best friends are those you don’t have to clean up for. Not your house, your children, and certainly not your heart.


Deeper Still: How about you? What’s keeping you from connecting with others?

Today, we’re giving away a FREE copy of When A Woman Finds Her Voice to one of our commenters.


{Find more encouragement with Jo Ann’s recently released book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Using Your Story to Make a Difference.}


25 thoughts on “When You Don’t Have Time for Friends

  1. I really just dont have any literal energy to do one more thing. But when I needed to find a dress last weekend, for a wedding, I texted a friend who was happy to join me. I love those friends who know how life goes. Who can catch up after months like we didn’t miss a beat. Thankfully she is one of those. However, there have been friends who are high maintenance. Those who are angry when you dont text them back right away. Those whom you dont pay daily attention to, and they get angry. So I have to put up boundaries there. That can keep me from connecting with others.

    • Ah yes, that should be a post by itself — those times when friendships require more than we have to give {and more than we should give}. I’m so very thankful for the healthy friendships you have! And, I’m so excited to finally meet you inRL this weekend. <3

  2. I feel like you stepped into my heart this morning. The guilt is unbelievable, AND I so wish I could do number 3… but can’t. There were times when I could talk on the phone longer than five minutes, but these days… it is utterly impossible in the midst of my life. This story has allowed me to breath… guilt free. When I can, I send I love yous, cards and when their is a moment — I try to call immediately for a one-hour stop at Starbucks for hot tea. Anyway, thank you for posting this. It was right on time.

    • Oh friend, the guilt overwhelms at times no? And that’s not good on top of the busy that already threatens our well-being. So thankful that God has brought you a breath of freedom from this guilt that He never intended. You are a beautiful soul Theresa, and you touch people simply by modeling His love through your heart. XO

  3. I love making new friends and to help others has always been what God created me to be and for me the reason that most people are just busy in there lives or hard times in there life that they do not have time for me but I have come to realize that in my life I too get busy but I want to be available for others cause I know that there is a lot of hurts out there that I long to be a comfort to them and I understand sometimes my friends are busy and life does get busy for all of us but if you have friends who are always there for you no matter what . I will always cherish the friends that are there and that those are praying for me but there life might be busy for them and I understand . I just want to be there if any of my friends need a listening ear and I cherish the ones who are there for me .

  4. I’m a true introvert. I love being alone, I love my thoughts that are for me alone, I love sitting in my chair and reading, that is who I am. But, with that said, I tend to hide behind that “label” too. I use my introvertedness as a way to decline the invitations, as a way to hide in the corner if and when I do accept those invitations. So, real live friendships are hard for me. The true ones I still have today are ones fostered in my growing up years. In some ways those friendships are easier, they know my past, I don’t have to explain it all again, and they love me anyway. I crave the “going-to-lunch” friendships, the “lets-have-coffee just-because” friendships, the “lets-sit-at-soccer-practice-together so-we-can-catch-up” friendships, in essence, the real-live conversations that heal a wounded heart, that deep connection you can have with a real live conversation with someone who just wants to listen and gets you.

    • From one introvert to another, I so get this.

      And yes, in real life friendships can be such a challenge — there’s often a cost of some sort. But it’s so worth it. Friends that are there in the everyday things are often the very ones who carry us through the toughest of times.

      Praying for those deep connections and real life conversations for you.

  5. raising a tribe of girls and living the chaos in the fast pace of So California- where we always have nice weather so you just keep going till you drop culture has left me feeling very friendless. I’m not very intentional either since girlfriends in the past have mostly been superficial and critical, leaving this already awkward girl feeling unworthy of anything worthwhile.

    • Oh how I pray God slows things waaaaay down for you my friend. And in that slower pace that he shows you the waiting hearts that would like to connect with yours. I pray authentic relationships that pierce any lingering wounds and that you recognize how very wonderful you truly are.

  6. One of my favorite crazy photos is one I have of a toilet seat in the back seat of my friends car! She picked me up just to do a Lowe’s run…so thankfully the toilet seat was new and needed to be exchanged! We had such fun in the kitchen cabinet department as we shared together what each of our own ‘dream kitchen’ would look like. Love those randsom moments with friends!
    I can hardly wait to connect with you and the other lovelies this next weekend. The enemy seems to be having a hayday throwing so many ‘wrenches’ in the way of this trip and that just makes me more determined than ever to see you all!! Looking forward to the laughter, tears, and fellowship in prayer!!
    See you soon, my friend!

  7. A lot of my friends have families and are busy. I’m single with no kids so I have more time. I get
    lonely and want to do things with friends. If I’m in a crowd of women I often feel overwhelmed with feelings that I’m not “normal” like everyone else. I don’t feel a connection to anyone in a crowd. If I’m talking with someone one on one I am better able to connect with them.

    Sometimes what keeps me from connecting with friends is the excuse that I don’t have everything together in my life. If my house isn’t clean or I’m physically out of shape and not looking my best, if I’m having
    financial struggles or just gosh darn it not “perfect”… I don’t feel worthy to meet up with friends that from where I’m sitting appear to have it all together. I’m embarrassed of myself sometimes, that well that, I’m not perfect too. I use these same excuses not to actively try to find a man; I’ve been divorced for seven years. Perhaps it’s a fear of rejection that keeps from connecting. A fear that others will figure out that I’m not “normal” although I am always genuine and am myself around people.

    • Oh Kimberly, that classic, “they wouldn’t like me if they really knew me,” tempts us all. Though we even manage to be real and vulnerable in so many areas of our lives, Satan uses this fear to keep us from true connection when things don’t always line up in our personal lives.

      That’s not God’s plan.

      Your vulnerable and honest feelings here share the heart of a woman who is ready for authentic relationship so I’m going to pray you step past the “uncomfortable” into the “willing-to-give-it-a-try.”

      Thanks so much for sharing what others sometimes cannot. You speak for many. <3

  8. Oh Yes Jo Ann,
    It is so easy to wear the label too busy especially because I share the introvert experience.
    But through the years I continually challenge myself and it can still be very difficult.
    Jesus is the ultimate example of community and alone time, He even asked the disciples to pray with Him in the garden (but they had to take a snooze instead).
    Personally I will probably always be challenged with trying to find healthy community in God’s Spirit But Dear Sister in Christ You make the journey so much more bearable to walk Thank You for your sweet and honest posts.
    Much Love Blessings and Hugs!

  9. Wow, I am amazed at what I’m reading on this blog! I relate to it all and to most of the women here. I thought it was just me. I am an introvert. I don’t have many friends. I only have one long time friend that I communicate with reguarly. It is a mix of no time and past hurts. I long for a true friend but I don’t know how to step beyond myself and risk. I am newly married and he is my best friend. I love our relationship yet a woman as a friend would be great!! I will be in prayer over this and thank you for touching on this issue! ♡

    • Tinika, thank you for joining us! I will join you in those prayers. And I thank God for that wonderful husband of yours.

  10. The title caught my eye as that is something I frequently say. There are a few people that I make the time for to meet up with and we are close, but I don’t have time for meetin new people.

    I work almost full time. I am a leader at the church youth group. I direct fine arts and teach dance. All this on top of 2 jobs and going to school and workin on getting my credentials. Not to mention my writing and dance ministry.

    So many people have told me I need to go to singles groups and young adult groups and that I need to meet people. I feel like I connect better with people online who we have a common goal. I love the book launch teams and blog yours – those are the people I connect with. My generation though, I don’t understand. No one seems serious about what they are doing or who they are. Don’t get me wrong, I can have fun. But the last thing I want is to stay out really late at night when most nights or days I’ve worked or interned all day. I’d much rather be home with my nose in a book or studying.

    My closest friends moved away or are in school. We make a point to see each other as much as we can. I don’t feel I need more than that although everyone insists otherwise. They don’t understand how I can be happy in my room at reading or writing. I love to be with people. But at the same time I have conditions that goes under. Most people my age don’t go for it.

    I take time to connect with my students and my leaders. Peers, not so much. Thank you for addressing this JoAnne

    • Brittany, you sound introverted like me, and there are times that alone time definitely refuels our soul . . . and not one thing wrong with that. 🙂 You are wise to refresh when your heart calls for it.

  11. I’ve been the one with no time, and sometimes I have simply used that as an excuse not to have to be vulnerable. In fact, God reminded me just this morning as I was praying about a friend who needs me and my frustration at being sick and not able to reach out…that no matter the fact that I can not be there, that she knows that I love and care for her, and God has her in His hands and this is enough.

    I cherish our times together, and I would love to spend more time with her, but schedules are busy and life is moving at a fast pace, and sometimes we have to simply know we rest in that love of that friendship. And cherish the moments we can steal together.

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