How to balance friends with your hectic work schedule

The practice of law can be all-consuming. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to maintain healthy friendships
The Insider Feature

It’s been a long time since I’ve made a new friend. Making connections came relatively easily in school, but once I started working, there were fewer opportunities to meet people. Now that I’ve been in a new relationship over the past year, a time commitment of its own, I’m finding it difficult to maintain my current friendships.

This is not a unique situation. I often hear lawyer colleagues talk about their difficulty balancing work, relationships, family and hobbies with their friendships. In fact, I know lawyers might feel like just getting home in time to spend an hour with their kids before bedtime is a victory. And yet, I think most of us would agree that our friends are some of the most important people in our lives. So how can the busy lawyer maintain their friendships?

One of my tricks is to integrate friends into other aspects of my life. Consider inviting a friend to your workout session. You get to hit the gym and have a date with your friend at the same time. Planning to hit up that concert or movie? Invite a few friends and go somewhere afterward to catch up. I have friends I see regularly because they’ll watch the obscure art-house films I like. (I can also invite as many as I want, since the rest of the theatre is usually empty.) Another thing I love is checking out new restaurants. If I invite three or four friends to join me, I get to do something I enjoy with people I love, and you’ve gotta eat anyway, right?

If your time is really limited, throw a party! Maybe you’ve been in trial for a month and haven’t seen anyone. After you clean your home and get your sanity back, throw a party and invite all your friends. You can catch up with everyone in one evening. This can be a big bash or a small dinner party, whatever suits your style.

When you get together with friends, it’s important to make that time count. The author of a recent study on the importance of friendship considers this question to be the most likely to spark a genuine connection: “What’s been going on in your life?” It’s open ended and demonstrates a real desire to learn about the other person.

Finally, remember that having one or two good friends is better than 10 casual friends; quality is better than quantity. No, you probably don’t have as big a circle as you once did, but high school is over. Your popularity isn’t going to secure you perks like the best table in the cafeteria anymore. Don’t despair! A few great friends can provide you with support and good times much better than a wider group can.

Cameron Bryant is a lawyer and lease negotiator with Cirrus Consulting Group in Toronto. He writes about fashion and lifestyle for Precedent.

This story is from our Spring 2020 Issue.

Illustration by Ryan Snook.