Indy Maven Friendship Series, Part I: Prioritizing Friendship

How do you prioritize friendships?
To hands interlocking pinky fingers with Indy Maven Friendship Series logo above

The Indy Maven Friendship series is tackling this simple yet complex relationship from various angles. 

We at Indy Maven see the theme of friendship all over the place lately. It’s in the zeitgeist, if you will. Maybe Covid and all its social distancing turned it into a hot topic. Maybe it’s always been a hot topic. But regardless of the reason, lately we can’t scroll without stumbling upon stories about friendship breakups, adult friendships, friendships and boundaries, the importance of friendship… even friendship coaches.

So, we crowdsourced a handful of contributors, board members, as well as the nuclear team at Indy Maven/Maven Space. After all, Indy Maven is made of multitudes. The more voices that chime in, the better we understand and empathize with all women, and the better chance we have at fulfilling our mission. We weren’t sure what kind of a response we’d get. But, as a good friend would, everyone showed up. Better yet, they had something to say.

In this, our first installment, we asked, “How do you prioritize friendships? And, equally important, how do your friends show you and/ or treat you to make you feel valued in the friendship?

Time.  The people that want you around will make time for you.  That doesn’t necessarily mean in person.  A quick phone call or text here and there goes a long way.  Your best friends will also give you grace.  Most of my friends and I are at the stage in our lives where our kids’ social lives, sports, events, etc. take up most of our time.  We have a mutual understanding that just because we don’t see each other as much as we’d like at this stage doesn’t mean our friendship is any less important than it was before.  My best friend and I joke around that we’ll get to hang out once our kids are in college. 😉

Leslie Bailey Headshot

The pandemic and then a busy work schedule have gotten in the way of friendships lately, but I’m working on trying to make sure I connect with at least one friend a week in some fashion, whether it’s to meet in person or simply a text to check-in.
Leslie Bailey, CEO and Co-founder, Indy Maven

Marlin Bruns headshotI want to be seen, and I want to be able to show my full self.  I feel valued when friends initiate with me, ask thoughtful questions, take a genuine interest in my life.  I feel valued when friends allow me to be honest and vulnerable, when they demonstrate that they are a safe place.  I try to do the same for my friends by following up in the ‘big and small’ of their lives, by encouraging or reassuring them as needed, by keeping confidences and being a safe person, and by opening doors of connection for them to walk through if they want.
Marlin Bruns, Contributor

Casey Cawthorn headshot

As a single mom since 17, friendship has always been a bit challenging for me. I’m on a lifelong journey of finding balance between all of the daily musts and making time for the relationships I hold near and dear. Today, when schedules allow, my closest friendships look like coffee dates or weekend brunches. But more often than not, my closest friends are those I talk to heading into or driving home from work. They’re those folks that understand it may take a day or two to reply to a text, but somehow, they reach out and send a hello in the moments I need it most. I feel valued in friendships where I’m safe. Those who know me already know that I’m pretty transparent and direct, and while that often works well, sometimes I need my friends to challenge me without judgment. I’m grateful for my tribe, who allow me to think my thoughts out loud. I’m also especially grateful for the random Starbucks gift cards when they know I’m in the trenches.
Casey Cawthon, Contributor

Arianna CruzI prioritize by making and saving time and energy for my friends. In my life at this point, time is so valuable and seemingly always fleeting; there are people I know I need to see and be with to fill my cup and those I want to show up for, so reserving that energy and time for them is how I pour into those people.  A lot of those who are close to me know that my love languages are words of affirmation and physical touch, so I know when they go out of their way to squeeze me in a tight hug or share encouraging words when that’s not their MO, I know they’re doing a little extra to pour into me. At the same time, I know my friends’ love languages, so when I see them expressing themselves in their most natural way, I feel valued and honored to be receiving their love.
Arianna Cruz, Operations Board Member and a 2023 Indy Maven Women to Watch

At 47, friendship has evolved several times throughout my lifetime. However, one thing that is common for me that makes friendship genuinely work is meeting people where they are without the extraneous obligations. It is easy to be friends in celebration and joy. However, I have felt most loved by friends when my capacity has been low. They make no demands. They just love me. That kind of understanding and respect is how I hope to be the best friend to my people.
Michelle Dahl, Editorial & Operations Boards Member

Kay HawthorneI prioritize friendships by working on my communication and keeping friends involved in my ups and downs, as well as being present through theirs. I feel valued in my friendships when I get life updates, invites to special moments and when I’m asked for my thoughts and opinions.
Kay Hawthorne, Contributor

Collen HungerfordHaving friendships is something I really value and prioritize in my life. My close friends are my chosen family; most of them I talk to in some form every week, even if it’s just sending memes back and forth.  I feel valued when the friendship feels reciprocal. I pour a lot into my friends, and that can’t feel or be one-sided. That being said, there are definitely seasons in a friendship where one side gives more than another and then vice versa, so as long as you can recognize this, like any relationship, you can work it all out.
Colleen Hungerford, Premier Partner

Kelli Jenkins HeashotDoing tarot readings and regularly being present for strangers can sometimes be draining and make it hard for me to show up for myself socially, but I see presence and long-term investment as the biggest ways I prioritize my friendships. I’m a ride or die, and I try really hard to show my friends that when I’m with them, I’m with them. I don’t give up on my people. I have a lot of really close long distance friendships, and it makes me feel so valued when friends check in and tell me they’re thinking about me. I have a friend that sends a lot of mail, and I’m trying to become a snail mail person. I strive to always be one of those people who lets people know I’m thinking about them, even if I don’t really have anything to talk about.
Kelli Jenkins of the Spellsisters, Indy Maven’s Resident Astrologist

Karen KennedyThere is literally nothing more important in the world to me than the relationships I have with my friends and family. Spending one-on-one time with my bestie, or any of my other girlfriends, recharges my batteries and nourishes my soul.
Karen Kennedy, Events Director, Maven Space

Jalysa KingI prioritize friendships in two ways! 1) The friendships that leave me feeling full and joyful. 2) The friendships that have some sort of reciprocity. I think the best thing my friends can do is love me for me and how I show up without judgment. We all have good and bad times and just need those people who say, “I’m here. Come as you are, and we’ll get through this.”
Jalysa King, Sales Maven and Contributor

Headshot of Amanda Kingsbury

Well, let’s put it this way: I’ve never once had a friend dump me for another friend, after carrying on a relationship with that friend for several months and lying about it. Friendships are *the* most important relationships to me, and I think Hanya Yanagihara characterizes it best in a “A Little Life:” “Two people who remain together, day after day, bound not by sex or physical attraction or money or children or property, but only by the shared agreement to keep going, the mutual dedication to a union that could never be codified.” My friends make me feel valued by, say, overnighting a Ziploc bag of fresh orange blossoms to Indy from Phoenix (because she knows I miss the scent); texting me some delicious feminist Instagram snark in the morning; creating a special Facebook group to celebrate a milestone birthday that happened during the worst of COVID; or responding, “Heck yes!” when I text, “Want to help me cover a 10-day Harley ride from San Diego to Milwaukee? We leave next week.”
Amanda Kingsbury, Co-founder, Indy Maven

Abby Kom sitting in front of a mural at Maven SpaceI prioritize friendships by setting aside quality time. Whether it is going on a walk, going to a coffee shop or simply running errands together, it is important to give the space to create memories and deepen our relationship. I feel valued and supported when my friends come to big events that I am a part of. When my friends come to cheer me on while I’m running a marathon, applaud after one of my orchestra concerts or come to one of my collegiate activities, it makes me feel like they not only want to hear about my world, but be a part of it.
Abby Kom, 2023 Indy Maven Indiana Press Club Foundation Fellow

Samantha Kupiainen headshotPersonally, I feel so valued when my friends check up on me when they know I’m going through a hard time or have a busy week coming up. My friends and I always joke about how we’re the same person because we have such similar tastes, personalities and life experiences, so I know that simply checking up on them or sending them an encouraging text puts a smile on their face just like it does mine!
Samantha Kupiainen, Contributor

Despi MayesI prioritize friendship with time and attention. I feel valued when friends check on me, are proactive to reach out and are reciprocal. I’m no longer participating in any relationship that requires me to do 100% of the work.
Despi Mayes, Indy Maven Member

Lindsay McGuire Headshot You have to make time. So many other pieces of your life can fill your time that it can be easy to let friendships go to the wayside. Make time to text, get coffee, grab lunch and do fun activities together. You’ll never ever regret making the time. 
Lindsay McGuire, Contributor

Maura Malloy is a writer, minimalist, TedX Talker, and Indy Maven’s Assistant Editor.

Have something to add to the conversation? Email us at and tell us how you prioritize friendship.

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