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You wake up, brew some coffee and then your day is off and running with no end in sight. As much as it pains your heart to do it, when you see your iPhone light up with your bestie’s number, you’ve got no choice except to hit ignore. But how the heck do you keep in touch with each other when life/love/work gets in the way? Here, a few tried-and-true strategies to help keep your friendships thriving.

RELATED: Quiz: There Are Three Types of Friends: Which One Are You?

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Be OK With Evolving How You Communicate

Sure, you used to be able to camp out on the phone for hours on end, but now that there are kids in the picture, you’ve come to memorize the sound of her voicemail picking up. A solution: Be direct and ask her about the easiest way to connect based on her schedule. Maybe she prefers texting—or maybe a five-minute phone call (aka you’re both cool with the fact you might have to hang up mid-sentence) will help take the pressure off your catch-ups. The goal: Figuring out an easy method to stay in touch when your lives are out of sync.

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Commit to a Standing Date

OK, maybe it can’t be every week, but a once-a-month brunch (or lunch or happy hour) is something you can definitely schedule ahead. The caveat: It helps if you can both be flexible when something comes up—like a work conflict or child care issues—but setting a date makes the likelihood of connecting in person that much higher. It also gives you something to look forward to.

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…Or a Standing Friendiversary

Ditto the above. Just getting plans on the calendar—say, for a once-a-year trip to the spa—can alleviate building tensions about feeling out of touch. It’s all about having plans on the books.

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Run Errands Together

She needs to grocery shop; you need to make a Target run. If you live nearby, see what tasks and chores you can tag-team. If you can squeeze in a mini catch-up session along the way, score.

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Be Vocal About the Fact That You Miss Her

Sometimes, we’re so focused on our own lives that we neglect the people we care about the most. That’s why speaking up about how you feel (sans a guilt trip about busy schedules) can go a long way. It could be as simple as: “I miss you! I know you’re swamped, but maybe we can FaceTime? I want to tell you about X thing happening in my life.” Being direct can help you sidestep any bitter emotions that might be bubbling up—and giving a specific reason you want to catch up can make it feel less nagging and more “your opinion matters.”

RELATED: The 3 Types of Friends Every Woman Needs (And 3 It’s OK to Ditch)

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