There are few things in life that are as rewarding as having good friendships. With life being so busy with work and family, it can be rather easy to overlook the valuable friendships that have been built up over time. With time growing more precious as people get older, staying in touch with friends provides a much needed sense of fun, happiness, and togetherness that everyone needs. Remember that your friends will not be around forever, so you’ll need to make the most of your relationships while you can.
“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.” – Helen Keller
Here are ten simple ways that you can use to build up stronger friendships and enjoy them as much as possible. By taking a little time from your day or making plans in advance, you can make sure that your friendships will grow in strength.
Don’t Take Your Friendships for Granted
Unlike family, friends are people you have chosen to be in your life so do not take them for granted. If you do not value them, they will fade away and leave you behind. This can be way too easy to do in today’s hectic world, so you’ll need to nurture your friendships properly. Instead, take a few moments to contact your friends on social media, calling them on the phone, or making arrangements for a quick lunch.
Understand the Passage of Time
It’s pretty easy to get caught up in life to the point where you may go for a long time between talking to your friends. So, make it a point to contact them on a regular basis like once a week or perhaps every other week just to touch base with them. Life can be very busy, so it’s okay if more time slips by. However, when you realize that it has been a month or two, call them up or send them a message to stay in touch.
Be There to Help
When your friend is going through hard times, it really helps if you can provide a shoulder for them to lean on. Remember, you are not obligated to solve their problem, but you can help by lending an ear so you can listen and running an errand or two to help them in this time of need. Be proactive in your assistance and offer a little help instead of having to wait for them to ask.
“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” – William Shakespeare
It’s the Little Things that Count
Life is made up of moments, so embrace the little things when you can. So, if you see something inexpensive in the store that you know your friend loves, or if they are ill and they need a little comfort, you can surprise them with a small gift that they will appreciate forever. Even a humorous postcard or a kind note can go a long way towards building up your friendship.
Take that Road Trip
Maybe you can’t go on one for a week or two like the old days, but you can spare a day to plan a road trip that will provide many happy memories. For example, if a particular winery or brewery is nearby, you can plan an afternoon trip for a tasting. Or, you can visit a museum, park, or other location to spend a few hours together. It does not have to be elaborate or even expensive. All that really matters is that you spend some quality time together.
Encourage Them to Pursue Their Dreams
You want to be a positive force in their lives, so if your friend has written a book or is taking on a new challenge, be there to encourage them. All too often, when people are taking chances the natural instinct of friends and family is to be protective so that they don’t get hurt. It is actually far more productive to encourage them to try and if they do not succeed say how much you believe in them. Your friend will definitely appreciate the thought.
Look Past Their Shortcomings
No friend you have on this Earth is perfect and no doubt you have told stories about friends who exhibited less than perfect behavior from time to time. While there is nothing wrong with that, keep in mind that your friends are not going to be perfect. So, do not let their behavior, mannerisms, or characteristics get in the way of enjoying their friendship. Every person, including you is not perfect and may do things in their lives that their friends do not approve. However, it is very important to accept your friends for who they are as they accept you.
Give them a Gift
One way to express your feeling is to give them a gift that they can really use. You can offer something simple like soy candles or perhaps a gift basket filled with meats and cheese or other goodies that they will really enjoy. Giving simple gifts can really help with the bonds of friendship.
Limit Your Expectations
In other words, do not be upset if your friend does not live up to the expectations that you have set for them. So, if your friend doesn’t call to wish you a happy birthday or forgets an important event, do not hold it against them. Everyone has their own lives to lead and just because you give of yourself as much as possible does not mean that others can provide the same effort. So, keep the expectations to yourself and don’t hold it against your friends if they do not remember something or fail to call.
Make Each Other’s Lives Better
You can reach out to your friends anytime that you want. So you don’t have to wait for a moment where they need your help. Instead, you can make their lives a little bit easier by offering to pick something up from the store, babysit for a little while or drop off their children if they have had a long day. You can even find ways to surprise them which will make them feel even better.
“A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.” – Donna Roberts
Overall, nurturing a friendship involves taking a little time out of your schedule to be with someone when you can.
“There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first; when you learn to live for others, they will live for you.” – Paramahansa Yogananda