The greatest memories are often tied to the even greater friendships. It’s not always what happened that’s important, it’s who you were with when you experienced it. Good friends are a gift that you get to share life with—they are there through the ups and downs, the celebrations and the heartaches. You rely on your friends to be confidants who understand you on a personal and intimate level. In a true friendship there’s no judgment, expectation, or end game. No matter what is happening in your life, your friends allow you to be your authentic self.
In short, friends are a blessing, and as with all blessings, you must appreciate and care for them. The following actions can help you to become a better friend to those you love.
1) Practice Active Listening to Truly Hear Your Friends
Active listening is a great tool that keeps the conversation focused on one person at a time. It allows the person speaking to be heard and acknowledged. We often respond to what people say by relating it back to ourselves. This doesn’t allow you to focus your energy on the other person’s words or situation. As a result, no one is actually being heard because both parties are just talking about themselves. Take turns being active listeners and watch your relationship flourish.
2) Call Your Friends to Connect
It’s that easy. Pick up the phone and talk to your awesome friends. We are constantly texting and communicating through social media portals that lack tone, facial expressions, and voice—key ingredients that help you to understand what is actually happening in the other person’s life.
It’s amazing to have a conversation in real time. It allows you to feel super connected to your friends. You can even throw in some video conferencing with Skype or FaceTime and up the quality time by feeling as if you are face to face with them. There’s so much personal detail that gets lost in social media updates, emails, and texts. Taking the time to physically speak over the phone reconfirms to your friends that you care about them, value your bond, and want them to be an active part of your life.
3) Go Out of Your Way to Make Your Friends Feel Special
You love your friends so why not go above and beyond to show it? It’s the little things that count in life and every smile is worth the extra effort. Show your friends how special they are by surprising them with an action that lets them know they are loved. Send a funny postcard (yes, snail mail); drop off a cute cupcake or a flower; leave a joke on their voicemail; or sing to them loudly in public—it’s embarrassing but I promise you that it will make them smile. Show them that you love them and that they are one of the greatest parts of your life. What goes around comes around and I can bet that they will make you feel spectacular too.
A world without friends is like a party without music. You can pull it off but it constantly feels like a key ingredient is missing. Friendships are a gift and it’s up to you to be a good companion to those people who are there for you. When you incorporate these small changes into your friendships you take steps to create a more open, thoughtful, and sincere community around you. We are here to love each other. So start spreading the love you have in your heart to your inner circle, one smile at a time.