Friendships are one of life’s necessities! We all need a time-out from our crazy lives to catch up, vent, and have fun with the people we love. But life gets busy, priorities shift, and our attention is pulled in a million different directions! We don’t want to make the mistake of losing our friends, but we are struggling to find the necessary time and energy to maintain and deepen friendships that we already have.
You don’t have to stress about it, but you do need to take some initiative! A little thought and care go a long way to deepen friendships and create long-term bonds.
1.) Text Them
Send your friend a text when something reminds you of them. This will let them know that they are on your mind. “Thanks for telling me about that movie. It was great!” “I thought I saw you at a restaurant today. Hope you are doing well!” Take 25-seconds to type out a text – this tiny initiative can do wonders to deepen relationships when you can’t always meet in person.
2.) Send Them A Small Gift
If you have a long-distance relationship or you don’t see each other very often, at least you should have their home address! Have you ever heard of Amazon – use it! The gift doesn’t have to be expensive or exotic. I’ve sent friends books, necklaces, candy, flowers, gift cards, etc. (Seriously, for under $19.99, you can send someone flowers on ProFlowers.com.) If you have a sense of humor, make it fun and send them a gag gift!
3.) Call Them
Don’t skip this! I love texting too because it takes less effort. But a phone call is a quick and effective way to catch up – and it is more intimate! I use my commute home from work to call my friends and family. If you have friends who are chatter-boxes, learn when to hang up! Knowing how to end a conversation will help lessen your dread of phone calls.
4.) Set A Date
Are you a spontaneous planner? Chances are some of your friends are not! “Do you want to hang out tonight?” may not be the most effective way to make plans (it can even seem thoughtless). A week in advance, ask your friend if they have a time that they can hang out. You will have a much better success rate if you set a formal date and time! I know, it may seem like you are taking the spontaneity out of the friendship, but you have to know what works for your friends.
5.) Invite Them Over To Your Place
Playing host or hostess can be an incredibly rewarding experience! Stop thinking that it is too stressful or difficult! I’ve had friends over for coffee, brownies, and ice-cream. We talked, laughed, and even played a few games. If you want to have a group of friends over, you can host a potluck! Everyone can either cook or buy something, filling the table with a bunch of delicious options! (Also, good friends don’t judge a little mess.)
6.) Be Very Honest
When they ask for your opinion, be honest! Only shallow people want friends who tell them exactly what they want to hear. Tell them when you think they are making a poor life choice. During college, one (and only one) of my many friends told me that I was dating the wrong person. She told me that I was changing into someone she didn’t want to be friends with anymore. Of course I felt offended, but I evaluated myself and realized she was 100% right. Her honesty impressed me and I realized she was the only friend who actually cared about me. We are still friends today.
Honesty may make you lose some friends, but it can also deepen friendships like nothing else can. It is also the BEST way for you to weed out the garbage and find the friends who value your opinion and concern for their wellbeing.
7.) Offer Your Time – Help Them Out
I know life is busy, but we can all take some time to occasionally help a friend. If they are moving, offer to help them pack. If they are sick, drop off some food. Help them paint their house, assist in dropping their car off at the mechanics, or offer to babysit their kids. Time doesn’t cost you a dime and it is one of the greatest gifts you can give to a friendship.
TIP: Don’t just offer to help them out. They will often turn you down for the sake of being polite. Take action and do something nice when you sense they need some help.
8.) Work Towards A Goal Together
Do you have any life goals or New Year’s resolutions? Ask your friend if they will do it with you! I have conquered a year without any caffeine or sugary drinks because a friend challenged me to do it! If you have a weight-loss goals or health goals, ask a friend to be your accountability partner. Working towards common goal will bring you closer together, as you communicate and struggle towards your end result.
9.) Let Them In
With every important relationship comes honesty, openness, and vulnerability. If your trust has been broken in the past or you have been taken advantage of, this can be very difficult. But it is the price you have to pay to find the people who will stay by your side through thick and thin. You don’t have to divulge your deepest secrets, but you do have to let them know who you are and what has shaped you into the person you are. Hiding your thoughts and feelings will result in a very one-sided relationship that has little depth and meaning. Be proud of who you are and don’t let fear or timidity hold you back from letting people in. It is far better to have one true friend than twenty shallow relationships.
Finding successful ways to deepen friendships can take some effort, but it is very easy! Making lasting friendships as an adult is the difficult part! With some determination and thoughtfulness, you can become a person that people want to be around. Be kind and genuine – the definition of a true friend.
If you have any questions about this article, just let us know in the comment section below! We’d be happy to help you out!