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Strengthen your friendships

We often take friendships for granted, perhaps not devoting the same effort or time we might to a romantic relationship, but friendships take work to keep them thriving and strong. Here’s how to keep the bonds intact.

Girlfriends laughing

Even though most of us recognize that we need our friends and cherish what they add to our lives, sometimes we get caught up in the chaos of the day-to-day, and friendships can falter. How can you make sure your close friendships stay strong? Here are some ways to keep your connections solid.

Put in the time and effort to make contact

Don’t let weeks or months go by without touching base with friends. While social media such as Facebook makes it easier to stay in the know on what’s going on in our friends’ lives, it can also make it easier to stray from your friends, because you have this false feeling of having been in touch. But making a phone call or meeting over coffee or dinner can’t be replaced by reading each other’s status updates. If your schedule allows, make a standing date with your closest friends (like how the girls on Sex and the City would meet for brunch all the time).

Acknowledge important occasions

We can all too easily get caught up in ourselves, but it doesn’t take much to send a card in the mail or via email to wish a friend happy birthday; just set a reminder in your calendar. Did a friend get a big promotion? Send flowers as congratulations. It might seem old-fashioned in this day and age, but your friend will feel appreciated and loved with these small, genuine gestures.

Be there in times of need

Did you get an email or have a quick chat with a friend and you know they seem off? Take the time to find out what’s going on and to be the shoulder they can cry on or the person they can vent to. We all have stuff going on, and to make it through tough times, well, that’s what friends are for, right?

Don’t let issues fester

In your closest friendships, you should be able to communicate when something is bothering you. Much like with any romantic relationship, open dialogue will help strengthen and deepen the bond you have. If you don’t voice your issues or concerns, they can cause cracks to develop in the foundation of your friendship.

More on friendships

Keeping in touch with friends overseas
The importance of your best girlfriends
Identifying toxic friendships

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