When you were a kid, your friends were your world. As you grew up, they helped you navigate the world and supported you as you figured out who you were and who you wanted to be. Friends make us laugh, hold our hands through the hard times, and are a supportive place to vent or talk things out.
When you’re juggling work, family, and everything else on your plate, friendships tend to get pushed to the side, but it’s so important to prioritize those relationships to keep them healthy and vital. In honor of International Friendship Day, July 30, we’re spotlighting a few ways to be a better friend to the people who make you feel complete.
Pick up the phone.
Check in! Send a text, give them a call, drop by with a coffee and a breakfast sandwich. Part of maintaining a friendship is simply checking in to say hi and touch base on what’s going on in your lives. If you’re long distance, ring them up while you’re driving to catch up. Never underestimate the power of a quick, “Hey, how are you?” text.
Make a date.
If it’s been awhile since you enjoyed some quality time with your friends, book a dinner date or a weekend activity and take it as seriously as you would a meeting with your boss or a job interview. It gives you an occasion to look forward to and a way to connect in real life, not just digitally. If you can swing it, make that date a mainstay on your calendar; even when you’re super busy, carve out time for the people who lift you up, listen, and make you laugh.
Ask “How can I be more supportive?”
Not sure how to best help your friend when they’re going through a rough patch? Ask them! Clear, honest, and vulnerable communication is key to making your friendship grow and last, so if you’re unsure what to do, go straight to the source and be open to however they respond.
Really listen when they talk.
Do you find yourself zoning out as your friend talks about their job, their pet, or their children? Cut it out! Put away your phone and really listen to what they’re saying, then bring up these topics the next time you chat to remind them that you’re a listening ear they can trust.
Own up to your mistakes.
If you messed up, own it. If you overstepped, admit it. Part of being a good friend is admitting when you’re wrong and saying you’re sorry.
Touch is a powerful tool and can even boost your wellness. Regular touch, including handholding and hugging, can decrease cortisol levels to help aid in relaxation and can even support immune health. Go on, hug it out!
Let them know you care.
Simply saying “I love you” or “I’m here for you” can be the most impactful, meaningful thing you do for a friend.