Did you know that friendships are linked to actual health benefits? According to an article from NPR, friendship has connections to our cardiovascular systems, immune systems, cognitive functioning, and even our sleep! It’s no surprise friendship helps improve both our mental and physical health, but for many, it’s difficult to both develop and maintain strong friendships, despite knowing their importance. If you’re hoping to strengthen the relationships you have into life-long ones, keep reading for some helpful tips!
1. Celebrate Accomplishments
Whether your friend has just accomplished a long-term life goal or simply finished and submitted a tough project at work, there’s a good chance they want to be recognized for their achievements. As their friend, take the opportunity to offer them some of that recognition, while also showing your pride and excitement! This can be done in a number of different ways. For example, you could find, or even make, a small trinket reminding them of their accomplishment. For the more social friends in your life, plan a gathering that gets their friends and family together to join in the festivities! Remember if you hope to do this soon, you should check your state’s guidelines and the CDC recommendations for social distancing!
2. Remind Them You’re Thinking of Them
Oftentimes, a small gesture means just as much as a big celebration when it comes to showing your friend how much they mean to you. If you want to work on strengthening the friendship you have, especially those who you don’t see or interact with often, don’t be afraid to reach out with a quick text or phone call when you’re thinking of them.
If you hear a song you think they’d like, or a recipe that sounds right up their alley, send it to them with a kind accompanying message. They’ll appreciate your extra effort and hopefully will be inclined to return the kind gesture!
3. Create and Continue Traditions
In a friendship, it’s important that all parties make the time to come together and celebrate one another’s presence in their lives. Though you may think you’re accomplishing this with weekly phone calls or tasty dinners out together, those regular activities become run-of-the-mill, and therefore, they don’t tend to have that celebratory feel. This is why it’s important for a friendship to create (and carry on!) fun traditions that can be recreated or built upon. Not only will this guarantee you’re seeing your close friends more regularly, but it also gives you an exciting event to look forward to and allows you to craft the perfect tradition honoring your unique friendship. Remember, you can always celebrate your traditions virtually or from a safe distance from each other to enjoy each other’s presence, but still ensure your health and safety!
4. Share More With One Another
One of the best things about having a close friend is that you divulge things to them you might not feel comfortable telling those you aren’t as close with. In fact, sharing with friends is a great way to develop more trust and reliance on one another. Though some may find it difficult or even nerve-racking to share their emotions with others, your friends are here to listen and offer support or advice! Be sure to invite and encourage your friends to share with you as well, so you can return the helpful support and advice they’ve given you.
Though friendships were easy to develop and strengthen when we were younger, they seem harder to hold onto as we grow older and become more distracted by work or family. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue putting effort into the strength of your friendships! Using this easy guide, you can create firmer, more lasting friendships to enjoy.