We all lead busy lives: whether we're married with kids (or without kids), or single with friends, there rarely seems to be enough time to carve out for the women in our lives who fill our hearts with love and fun. Weeks (or months!) can go by without seeing your closest friends. We're relational beings, and we need that connection to be ourselves and remember who we were before we also became mom, wife, partner, or coworker. It can seem like one more thing to do, but when we're with our friends we always wonder why we don't do it more often. Here are some ways to keep the friend connection strong:

1. Send an encouraging text. Random texts to touch base for no particular reason always make me smile. You just wanted to say hi? I love it.

2. Pick up the phone. I know, I know. Talking on the phone is so 1999. The thing is, texts can only convey so much. I'll often pick up the phone as I'm making dinner/folding laundry/packing lunches to catch up with one of my favorite people. Sometimes I even sit down and just talk. It's fabulous.

3. Plan a girls' night in. My circle of friends will do this every few months. Anyone who wants to attend is invited, we each bring an appetizer, and we spend the evening in a room of girlfriends, circulating around and talking with each other. I always drive home (or close my front door as the last guest leaves) refreshed and energized at the same time.

4. Throw a note in the mail. Snail mail usually consists of bills, so getting a little note in the mail for no reason at all is a day brightener.

5. Share a meal. When I worked at an office, I had a standing date to meet two of my best friends for lunch once a week. We had an hour to catch up and vent and share our stories. Now that I'm working from home, I still make lunch (or family potluck dinner) dates to spend time with my friends and get caught up.