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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Making time for friends

So research shows we have fewer friends and spend less time with them than 20 years ago. I put the research to the test and found out Karen Echols, COO of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, bonds with girlfriends through Ladies Night Out. Each month Echols asks a different hostess to invite the group to their home and decide what food will be served. Echols says they women talk about range of topics and try to stay upbeat. Some women have splintered off and formed more intimate subgroups. Echols says her husband Bill uses the night to get together with his friends. "I think it's as important as working out."

John Cardillo, a Miami Internet entrepreneur, logs lots of work hours and travel miles. But he, too, makes time for friends. As a member of The Havana Club in downtown Miami, Cardillo drops by frequently to smoke a cigar and shoot the breeze with buddies. He also takes motorcycle trips with his pals. Cardillo believes making time for friends is good for his health. "It's my way of decompressing," he says.

Here are a few tips on making time for friends from friendship coach Jan Yager

* Plan a lunch date or coffee break and while catching up schedule your next get together.

* If you live far away, schedule vacations together, or even a day trip.

* Make a movie night each month and invite a different friend each time.

* Volunteer together.

Yager acknowledges it may take extra effort the busier we get but she considers it a good investment for the future when you have more time on your hands. I've decided I'm going to make more effort to make time for friends. Do you feel you get more from friendships than from relationships with a significant other or family members?


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