Our loved ones are what makes life worth living. Little else matches the wonderful experiences we have with friends full of laughter and it turns out these times are also good for your health. Many studies have shown that friendship is beneficial for our well-being and might even extend our life expectancy.
However, we can sometimes neglect these important relationships. It’s easy to fall into the cycle of work and sleep and forgetting to respond to a friend’s text or missing an important date in their lives. Given just how hard it is to make new friends as an adult, here are a few tips that will help you strengthen the friendships you already have.
If you’re the kind of person who is constantly unwilling to commit to things—it’s time you change that. The simplest way to do that is to be the one initiating plans. That way, your friend doesn’t get the impression that you’re avoiding them. You should initiate specific plans—a time, a date, and a place—so you’re not just sending vague smoke signals that you want to meet up. Better yet, make it a regular weekly or monthly hangout if you can, so you’ll it becomes part of your routine.
Make plans on their terms
Be willing to make plans that don’t accommodate your needs only. When you meet a friend, decide on a time and a place that’s convenient for them (and not around the block from your apartment). It’s a simple gesture that shows you care for their needs too.
Remember important dates
This tip is simultaneously the easiest and the hardest one to follow. It’s easy to simply send a message on the day of their birthday, but it can also slip your mind without you realizing it for a second. To avoid missing the important dates and looking like a lousy friend, mark them down on a calendar or on your phone where you can be alerted on the day itself. By dropping your friend a message, you’re showing them they’re still on your mind even when they’re not around.
Put down the phone
If you want to be a better friend, you’ll have to learn how to listen better, too. The first step to being a good listener these days is to ignore the phone and give undivided attention to your friend. Listening without an agenda is also key, remember to respond to your friend with no judgment or interruption.