You're not too busy for your friends. Here's how to make time for them.

Forget overwrought dinner parties with custom cocktails — think stretchy pants and brunch at home.


Photo, Masterfile.

As I get deeper into my thirties, and life gets more hectic, I’m reminded of how much my friends mean to me. This past weekend, I had brunch with my oldest and dearest friends. The three of us grew up together in small-town Ontario, moved to different parts of the province for university, and then all settled in Toronto — at one point living within 10 minutes of each other. While our lives have gone in very separate directions, every time we get together it’s like we’re 15 again. There’s something so refreshing and recharging to be with people who know all your faults and dirty secrets, but love you anyway. Inevitably as we said our goodbyes, we promised to get together more often, but life always seems to get in the way.

While still revelling in my post-brunch glow, I stumbled upon Drew Barrymore’s Instagram post packing seven women in a single selfie, proving even celebs need ride-or-die friends. “Love your friends. Share kindness. Hold onto moments and most of all… MAKE MORE PLANS!” she wrote.

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If Drew can manage to make plans with Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz, I can definitely find time for my friends. Here are five ways I’m going to do just that.

1. Laid-back potluck brunches

If there’s one we all have in common, it’s a love of food — especially sweet, decadent, breakfast foods. I’m going to host a brunch once a month where everyone brings an easy-to-make dish. Sweatpants or leggings mandatory.

Double breakfast - egg tartlets and french toast

2. Clothing swaps

About two months into every season, I get sick of my work wardrobe — and I know I’m not the only one. Instead of going out and buying new items, a few of us have decided to hold seasonal clothing swaps. We’ll each bring a few items (in good condition) to trade that way we get to update our closet without spending a penny.

3. Batch-cook Sundays 

We often joke about wanting a magical dinner fairy that comes and stocks our freezers with ready-to-go-meals for those nights when we just don’t have the time (or desire) to cook. Because, sadly, magical dinner fairies don’t exist, we’ve decided to be each other’s dinner fairy. About once a month, we’re each going to cook a different big-batch meal, divide it into freezable containers and swap with each other. That way each person only has to cook one recipe, but ends up with three different meals!

Quinoa minestrone soup

Photo, Roberto Caruso.

4. Enjoy a weekend getaway

Life is pretty busy for all of us, so while a week-long vacation isn’t in the cards at the moment, a weekend adventure is totally doable. We’re currently still deciding if we should go on a wine tour or a spa weekend at a resort.

5. Testing out new restaurants

Let’s face it, after a long work week, it’s nice to have someone else cook dinner (and do the dishes!). Each month a different friend will pick the restaurant, make the reservation and send out the iCal invite. All the rest of us have to do is show up and enjoy!

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