How to Maintain a Friendship
It’s easy to be close to friends and family during big life events like weddings, big birthdays or a new job. These are huge events that do not require much effort on our part and allow us to express our gratitude to our friends by just showing up.
While these moments can certainly be meaningful, they are all small, seemingly insignificant moments – support – that create strong, true friendships for you from the start and add depth, comfort, support, and beauty to our lives.
In other words, true friendship takes work. If you’re looking for ways, big and small, to invest in your relationships with friends and family, Goodful BuzzFeed has put together a long list of ways to show your sincere appreciation .
“At Goodful, we all truly believe that strong and emotionally supportive relationships are such an essential foundation for maintaining positive mental health and overall well-being,” Anna Borges, BuzzFeed Senior Staff Writer and Contributor, tweeted me. “But, you know, it takes some work to strengthen those bonds, and a lot of people don’t know what it takes to go from being a good friend to a truly invaluable one – so hopefully that will give people a starting point.”
It is worth reading it in full, but some of it is particularly useful.
Set up calendar notifications for important dates
It’s a simple but effective way: set your calendar to alert you not only to the birthdays of your friends and family, but also to important dates in their lives, “especially those associated with grief.” Your loved ones will be grateful to be remembered.
However, it doesn’t have to be just for important dates. For example, my iCal schedule is to “catch up with friends” every Sunday, and it’s just a reminder to text or call a friend I haven’t spoken to in a long time. Ideally, we don’t need to be reminded, but life is busy. It’s easy to get caught up in Netflix or spend all your time with your SO and forget that your friends deserve your attention too.
Show interest in their interests
No, that doesn’t mean you have to work part-time as a LARPer or listen to all 200 episodes of the real crime podcast they participate in. But at least try to get interested.
“If they keep talking about a Netflix series or comic they’re on or recommending a recipe or product, be sure to try it,” writes BF. “Even if you don’t like it, you will still learn a little more about them in the process, and they will appreciate your attempt.”
Create a monthly recipe club
Rather than monthly book club meetings that might be too time-consuming for your busiest friends, BuzzFeed writer Terry Poes recommends starting a monthly recipe club. You pick a key ingredient or theme — say ricotta cheese or “global dishes” —and then each one brings a dish tied to the ingredient or theme.
“None of us are chefs, but all of our love languages are all about putting our heart and soul into cooking something delicious,” Pous writes. “Even when one of us is having a rough week or month and is only able to gather energy to bring a container of pre-cut berries, we take that for what it symbolizes – a commitment to show ourselves to each other.”
I especially love the idea of cooking for each other, but any recurring event or meeting place will do. The point is, you have scheduled time to do something together.
Pay attention to differences in behavior / appearance
No, that doesn’t mean just complimenting their haircut and new gym routine. This means noticing small signs that something might be a little … not right. As BF writes:
Pay attention to physical signs that they may be unimportant, such as looking very tired / awake, poor hygiene, a complete mess in the house, or weight fluctuations. You don’t need to comment on anything; it’s just data that can tell you a story if you start noticing other little flags as well.
And if you think something is wrong, offer them help.
Support them even when it’s uncomfortable
If something bad happens, be there for them, even if it is not convenient for you. Something I’ll never forget: When my ex-boyfriend broke up with me at 9:30 pm on Tuesday, my friend KC immediately came up with a bottle of wine and a shoulder to (literally) cry despite having a job. in the morning and live on the other side of the city. The next day, she sent me a box of cookies and an inspirational note that I still have. And my friend Katie flew to New York from Detroit that weekend to make sure I was okay. The breakup sucked, but it made me realize how happy I am to have such wonderful friends in my life. I try to be a little more like KC and Katie every day.
In this case, my friends knew that I just needed to complain for a while, watch shitty movies, and maybe flirt with someone new to feel a little better. But if you don’t know how to be close to your friend, ask him. They may just need to vent, or they may need you to do something for them. And when that happens, they will forever appreciate your help. (And read this thread on Twitter .)
Just be there whole
This is the most important question in my book, and it’s my fault that I don’t stick to it all the time. But when you are with someone, be with them . Really listen to them, ask questions, get busy – put your phone down, shut off the 1000 things you have to do in your mind. Focus on your friend. The people I value the most as I get older – the ones I try to spend the most time with – are the ones who really listen to me when I speak. This is a low bar, but the number of people who overcome it is surprisingly small. Be one of those who do it. It will be better for you and your friends.