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Dates with friends

I've always been a guy's girl. Even as a little kid I hung out with the boys, and my body bears the scars of a million skinned knees, cat scratches across the face (FYI: cat's DO NOT like swimming pools) and busted lips and noses. I'm not still friends with Catfish (yes, the real nickname of the kid who lived behind us), but I have developed friendships with other dudes and (GASP!) chicks over the years. But unlike back in the day when friendships could be maintained without any work at all, grown-up friendships need nurturing, which is why the friend date is a super important part of my life now.

Ever wonder why your friends seem distant, or when you finally do get together why you feel like you spend all night with one of you monopolizing the conversation? It's because sometimes texts, Tweets and Facebook messages are not enough, especially if you want to nurture your friendship. Because friendships are just like any other relationship; you have to work a little to make sure they don't get stagnant, that everyone feels loved, respected and important, and you have fun when you're together.

I've been just as guilty as anyone else of doing this in the past, and things have suffered. No matter who says you can go back, when you let a friendship die, it's never totally the same again. So how do you keep from falling in that trap when everyone leads such busy lives these days? I mean you work, you have kids, you have boring grown-up responsibilities like dishes, laundry and mowing the yard (unless you're smart, like me, and pay people to mow the yard for you). So how do you make time for what sometimes seems like unnecessary time suckage when your life is so busy?

You take a page from Nike's book and just do it!

If you're a single mom like me, get a babysitter and a Happy Meal and go have sushi one night during the week. It's something I try to make time to do with a friend of mine every single week. Am I tired sometimes when I've worked all day, and when I still have to give my son a bath and get him ready for bed when I get home from dinner? Sure. But I would hate to have my life without this friend in it, so I am going to push through my sleepiness, grab a cup of coffee and head out for a little sushi time.

Or go sit at the bar, have a steak and a margarita with your girlfriend and talk trash about people. It will make you laugh - and I am a firm believer in laughter curing many of your ills, from aching feet to a sleepy soul. Something else me and my work chicks have done a couple times - and need to do again (hint, hint) ­is almost-midnight margaritas at my place, since I am closer to the office. It's a great way to wind down after a long week, and laugh at the lunatics on "Maury Povich," which I DVR. Don't judge me.

Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you take the time to do it and really be engaged. You'll thank me for saving your friendships, I promise. If divorce has taught me anything, it's taught me that nurturing relationships is important to their survival. I'm like the Dr. Joyce of Covington - and you didn't even have to give me your credit card!