Friendships fade every day. There's a rumor that friendships that have lasted for at least 7 years will last a lifetime, but we've seen so many counterexamples in our own lives.
It doesn't matter if you've met during an incredible weeklong trip abroad, spent an entire semester in Japanese history together, struggled at the same company for years, or if you've known each other since grade school. Some friendships even turn into to love and marriage before ending in divorce. These things happen. If you learn to find joy in the memories rather than attaching them to the person, you can let go of anger and bitterness and instead be grateful for your time together.
But there are some friendships that do last a lifetime. While we cannot guarantee a recipe for a lifelong friendship, we can offer some advice on how to be a better friend to the people you care about now.
Feel like you've been a crummy friend lately?
It happens, especially when you’re going through some transitions. But friends are priceless, and just like any relationship, you have to put some work into it.
The first thing you should do is reflect on where you’re at in your friendships. Have you been in contact? Have you been ghosting them? Be honest with yourself, and go from there.
Make concrete plans with them.
You know how hair stylists sometimes ask if you’d like to book your next appointment right after getting a haircut? If you know you’re going to be busy, this is something that could possibly work between friends. If you’re already out with them, talk about the next time you’ll see each other. You don’t have to be aggressive about it, just try not to be so vague. Another thing that helps is Google calendar (don’t forget to set reminders if you’re a busy bee).
Back to the Future
The best thing you can do is show up.
If you’ve made plans with a friend, do show up. If an emergency comes up, that’s perfectly understandable. Just be honest about it.
If you’re not in the mood, try to think of more than just yourself and meet up with them anyway. Oftentimes people don’t feel like going out, end up doing so, and feel glad that they did. Show up. Your friends will appreciate you for it. If you really don’t want to go out, try inviting them over.
Planning a trip with them is a great way to bond or reconnect.
We can’t always live near our friends, especially when life takes us elsewhere. I know a few people that plan annual trips. Just last month, I was sitting next to a man on a plane when he told me that he goes on golfing trips every year with his best mates, one of them he knew his whole life and the other, he met in college. The two others didn’t know each other at first, but he brought them together and they get along well. Don’t be afraid to initiate something like this.
If budget is an issue for any person in the group, be sensible. If it isn’t, don’t be afraid to splurge!
Pick up the phone.
It’s best to talk in person but it isn’t always possible. If you wait to see each other in person, you could be waiting for a very long time. If your friend has something to celebrate or is going through something tough, give them a ring. You should also do this if you haven’t heard from them in a long time, you know, just because.
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