We all value friendships and want to keep them strong. It’s vital to find time and ways to maintain relationships with your best friends.
What would our lives be like without our friends? They make our world richer and more fun, listen when we need a shoulder to cry on and bring spontaneous adventure when we most need it. Friends are the other family that we get to choose for ourselves! Friendships can grow more precious with time, but you have to “show up” to keep them from floundering.
Keep in touch
The one commodity that’s in short supply for everyone is time. With the busy lives we lead and the number of obligations we all carry, our days and nights often don’t seem long enough to manage all that we have to do. Still, it’s impossible to maintain a friendship if you never have contact. Telephone calls, getting together and emails are musts for best friendships.
If you can’t manage a get-together or live in different cities, email is a blessing to friendships. It doesn’t take long to send a quick “thinking of you” message. Telephone calls are important, too. Set aside a half-hour as regularly as possible and give your friend a call. Even a message left on voicemail is better than not calling at all. Send a funny card. It will take just a few minutes to find a humorous and appropriate card for your friend, address it and pop it in the mail. While you’re at it, send a photo! A picture really is worth a thousand words and your friend will be happy to see you — even just in a photo!
Allow for change
Friendships evolve over time as we all change. Be open to the adjustments that could mean for your friendships. New relationships, kids and jobs can alter the dynamic of a friendship, but these things don’t have to harm it. Respect and appreciate the new differences for the added dimensions they can bring to the friendship. You may discover that you have more in common now than ever before! Keep your expectations reasonable. We’re only human and friends forgive and forget little bumps in the road.
Cut your friend some slack! Try not to take it personally if your friend is late when meeting you, has to cancel your plans together at the last minute, forgets something that’s important to you or says something thoughtless. Don’t automatically assume she’s uncaring. Perhaps your friend is overwhelmed with a situation or circumstance that you are unaware of: a demanding new boss, issues with a partner or a sick and cranky child.
Openly express to your friends that you remain grateful for the friendship and for having them in your life. Nobody wants to be taken for granted, so it’s always appreciated when you hear that you are important to someone. Working on maintaining your friendships needn’t be forced or inauthentic. Friendships don’t always happen spontaneously, and even when they do, you have to be there emotionally for your pals to keep the relationships vibrant and strong.
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