We all know how special friendships are. Good friends become like family to us. But somehow, somewhere along the line, work becomes too busy, life happens, and we end up not paying as much attention to the relationship as we used to. Taking time to cherish our friendships is as important as tending to our plants and flowers. They need nurturing to grow. If that means you only have time for a phone call here and a lunch date there, so be it, but even the smallest efforts can create the biggest rewards. It doesn’t take much to make someone smile and feel appreciated, and being that it’s a close friend, you probably know exactly what makes them feel special. It may take some planning, but I promise it will be worth it. Jot it down in your planner or set a reminder on your phone. Whatever you need to do, put your friendships back on the priority list.
My childhood neighbor, and a close girlfriend of mine, used to dedicate a week out of the school year to each one of her friends. She would spend a few days honoring the person they were and what they meant to her. She would do small things like give them a picture frame with a nice photo in it, or bring them candy to school, or write them a letter about all of the great qualities that friend possessed. It didn’t take a ton of time, but the thought itself was enough to make her friends feel valued. The friendships grew closer and their bond grew stronger just based on that one week alone. Of course, that didn’t mean she ignored the rest of her friends throughout the year, in fact she was an incredible friend no matter the month, but it was the intension of cherishing something that was meaningful to her that mattered the most. I always think about her and her “week of friendship” when I realize I may be neglecting one of my own. Although her method may not be the one that works for you, it is a good reminder to us all to put forth our effort, get creative, open our heart and start giving. And remember, what you reap is what you sew. So, get out that needle and thread and start to stich the framework for your friendship.
Send an Email
We do it all day and most of us are attached to our smartphones anyways. It doesn’t take much to write a little message and press send. Our course, if you want to get really fancy you can handwrite a letter (ooh.. anyone know how to do calligraphy?), roll it up, tie a ribbon around it, put it in a bottle, take a Pirate’s ship out into the middle of the ocean, and send it off in the sea. Kidding! You can just write out their address on an envelope and snail mail it. Not like any of us 21st century people know how to do that anyways. Although I have to admit, getting a handwritten letter in the mail would make me feel mega special. But, if your handwriting is horrid and looks like you’re still practicing print in the fourth grade (don’t worry, mine is chicken scratch), then an email will do the trick! Even just saying hello and checking on them will make them feel important and show that you really care. If you get some extra time, try writing an email talking about how much they mean to you, something they’ve taught you, or sharing a special memory you have of them.
Pick Up the Phone
Like I said before, we are attached to our phones. We don’t even have to dial a number anymore. Just tell Siri to call so-and-so, and poof! Magic. How easy is that? If you have a long drive, connect your call to your Bluetooth and spend your travel-time productively. If you’re drinking your morning coffee and have a few minutes to chat while you sip, do so then. Or even if you can schedule some time during the day for at least 5 minutes (well, sometimes those hour-long conversations are good for the soul), pick up the phone and call! Let your friend know you are thinking about them. Ask them how they are doing and what they’ve been up to. Maybe even set up a regular time you can connect on a call and catch up. Of course, you can send a text if you’re really in a hunch, but Emojis and LOLs don’t compare to hearing your friends voice and sharing some laughter.
Make a Meal of It
I mean, we all need to eat don’t we? Why not do it with someone we love? Take your friend out to brunch, meet up for dinner, or even just grab some crumpets and tea. (I don’t even know what crumpets are, it just sounded good). Sharing some delicious dishes, cheering over a glass of wine, or dipping your spoon in a drool-worthy dessert can be a fun and fruitful bonding experience. There’s nothing like sitting across the table with someone special - laughing, chatting and spilling secrets over good food. Even if you only have time for once a month, make it happen. You’ll realize how fulfilling it is once you are there. If you’re on a tight budget, you can always grab some affordable groceries and cook together at home. It never needs to be fancy when it comes to friendship, the meaning of the meal is what it’s all about. Plus, making a dish you love together can be a ton of fun!
This is one of my favorites because you get to be creative. It doesn’t even have to be their birthday or a holiday, in fact, it’s even better if it’s not. And it doesn’t have to be hundreds of dollars, it can actually cost you nothing. Just make it meaningful and from the heart. This can be anything from a scrapbook, to a piece of jewelry, a dedication on the radio, a ticket to a concert, a piece of art, a tea pot or loose-leaf tea, a cookbook, pottery lessons, a magnet, a t-shirt, flowers, a yoga class series, Youtube video, an Uber ride, sheesh.. I could go on forever. The object itself doesn’t matter, as cheesy as this sounds, it really is the thought that counts. Bring over some soup when they are sick. Send them a Starbucks gift card if they’re tired. Buy them that new album that just came out from their favorite artist. Think about something that friend really loves and find a way to make it happen. Even just drawing a picture or cutting out some motivating quotes from magazine can really show a friend how much you care. Gifts can come in any shape, size or form. Even spending time with a friend or having a meaningful conversation is giving them the gift of devotion. No matter if you choose one of these ideas or make one up on your own, cherish your friendships and watch them flourish. Happy friending!