It's not always easy to be a good listener, so if your listening skills could use some polishing, make this the year you do it. One of the most important parts of being a good friend is being able to listen to them – and we mean really listen, not just nod and smile while they talk. We all have stories to tell and news to share, but it's really important to strike a good balance between talking and listening. This year, resolve to make listening a friendship priority. The more you do, the better you'll feel and the more your friends will open up to you.
It's one thing to meet your friends for drinks, text back and forth, check out a movie or hit the mall to go shopping, but it's another thing entirely to take an active interest in their lives outside of the friendship. This year make an effort to be more involved in the lives of your friends. Get to know their boyfriends or husbands better. If they have kids, spend more time with their little ones (or better yet, offer to babysit), meet their work friends or go to their volleyball games. The point is to get to know you friends even better than you already do by being part of their lives in a way that doesn't involve your usual activities. It will ideally enrich your friendships and give you a fresh perspective on the people you love.
Do you let weeks go by in between visits with friends? Does it take dozens of email exchanges just to set up a brunch date? Not this year. This year, resolve to make more time for your friends despite your busy schedule, new boyfriend, crazy job or whatever has been keeping you away from your social circle. You don't have to go out every night of the week, but do make sure you schedule regular time with your friends to catch up and stay connected this year. The more time you spend with your friends on a consistent basis, the easier it is to remain close and ensure the friendship thrives.
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