But we also hugely value our friendships, because these are the people who know all about our hopes and dreams, and have likely been there for a break-up or two. These are our travel buddies, our drinking dates, our best gal pals. These women (and men!) get us through life’s highs and lows and we couldn’t imagine taking this wild ride without them.
So how do we make sure to care for those friendships even when our to-do lists are a mile long and we’re pulling all-nighters to get that work project done that was due yesterday? Here are just a few of our tips for keeping those friendships strong:
We get it – we’re all busy.
It’s likely that your day was filled with so much action you could spend hours recounting the way your boss is pissing you off or how that guy you went on a date with last week still hasn’t called. But one of the best ways to show someone how much you care is to put aside everything that’s racing through your mind and really listen to how their day went, to what’s going on in their life.
Whenever we meet up with friends, we always try to lead off by asking them what’s up in their lives, what’s exciting them or keeping them up at night. Be a good listener and truly care about what your friend is telling you. Bonus points if you make a mental note of something that they shared with you and reach out later to follow up (“hey, so did that guy ever call?”). Feeling truly heard is a rarity in our distracted society, and it’s one of the best (and free!) gifts you can give a friend.
Track those important dates.
Remembering important dates can be a challenge, especially when you have a big group of friends and a lot of dates – birthdays, anniversaries, etc. For us, any time we learn of an important date – whether it’s a milestone that occurs every year (such as a birthday) or a one-time event (such as a surgery or a big exam) – we put it in our calendars so that we won’t forget (you can also use an Excel spreadsheet or a to-do list app).
We’ve even color-coded those dates so that they stand out and are hard to miss. Every week, we’ll take a look a few weeks in advance to see what milestones are coming up and make sure to mail a card, schedule an e-card, pop a One For Women gift in the mail (you can schedule out the delivery date of your gifts!) or even just put a reminder to call or send a text.
Surprise and delight.
A good friend of ours lives by the mantra that a gift should “surprise and delight.” We agree! We also think that a good way to keep a friendship strong is to not just remember the big events (see above) but to reach out even when something monumental isn’t going on. One of our favorite ways to do this is to choose a friend every week to focus on, and then send them something special that week – it doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, it could be as simple as a card or a nice text.
Focusing on only one friend per week ensures that it gets done and that we don’t feel overwhelmed. And because you are thinking about your friend at a time when everyone else probably isn’t (unlike a birthday or holiday), this #smallgesture will mean that much more.