A while ago on Instagram, in a chat about friendship, someone asked about ways to maintain friendships when your life is really busy or you are embarrassed about your house or you live far away.
Of course, any relationship that you really want to thrive is going to require effort – there’s just no getting around that! – but there were lots of great recommendations for how to be a good friend even when life feels busy.
Here are some of my favorite simple ways to keep a friendship going strong!
how to be a good friend
- Check in consistently.There are so many easy ways to do this now – texting, Marco Polo, email, FaceTime – and it doesn’t have to be long. My friend, Jessica, is a master at this – she FaceTimes me frequently while she’s getting ready in the morning and we chat while I do dishes or paint my nails. My mom often sends me a Marco Polo while she’s driving around doing errands and I can watch them at my leisure.
- Remember important events. Birthdays are a natural one, but other things like the first day of kindergarten when their baby goes off to school or the anniversary of a parent’s death or getting a new job can all be days when a quick text or handwritten note can mean a lot.
- Share a laugh. Laughter is such a strong bonder and it can be as easy as sending along a funny meme or a little story that made you laugh.
- Drop off a treat or little gift. I’ll never forget a new-ish friend in Arizona (hi Becky!) stopping by on my birthday – I don’t even know how she knew it was my birthday – with a little card and a few fun bars of dark chocolate. It’s been seven years and I still think about it every year when my birthday rolls around. My mom used to drop off a gallon of milk with a younger friend with little kids every month or so – she knew it would get used and it’s one of those things families run out of all the time! My friend Ralphie would lend me a library book she’d loved that still had a week or two left on the checkout. My sister brings me a little tomato plant in the spring when her garden is taking off. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive – the thought really is what counts!
- Invite them along. If you don’t want people coming to your house, text a friend when you’re going to the library or taking your kids to the park. If you’re already booked but it’s something that can accommodate someone joining you, it’s such an easy way to kill two birds with one stone. You could even schedule your hair cuts together or sign up to volunteer for something at the same time.
- Set up a FaceTime or Zoom lunch. When I first moved to Utah and didn’t have many friends, my friend Lisa from Arizona texted me and said “what day next week can we have a zoom call while we both eat lunch?” It was the BEST thing to be able to laugh and chat together while we both ate our lunches in our respective homes and made me feel so much less alone (and also like she hadn’t forgotten me the minute I left the state).
- Offer to bring something when you’re invited. If your friend invites you to a party or over for dinner, ask how you can help – offer to bring a dessert or water bottles or napkins or whatever you have the bandwidth for.
- Remember their favorite things. There is something so special about a friend remembering something you love and noticing it when you’re not with them. Whether it’s a favorite flower blooming somewhere, a well-loved song coming on the radio, or something else, a quick text saying, “I just heard X on the radio and it made me think of you!” goes a long way to keeping that friendship connection going.
- Engage on their social media accounts. I have a large audience on Instagram and I’m still 100000% delighted and notice every time when a real-life friend comments or likes my posts.
- Start an easy ritual. In Arizona, I had a little group of friends and we got together for lunch every time one of us had a birthday – with five of us, it meant we were getting together at least every few months! Another friend in Utah invited me to start going to a gym class with her and now I’ve seen her almost weekly for the last several years, which would NEVER have happened without that class. Make an easy habit of getting together.
- Remember what you TRULY prioritize. One time, a friend stopped by and then stayed for over an hour. My first thought was, “I have so much to do!” but my second thought was “I highly value good friendship and I WANT more friendship in my life. Is spending the next hour with her a better use of my time?” And it was! When she left, I was filled up with the delight of good conversation, our friendship was strengthened and now I can’t even remember what it was that felt SO important that I pushed off in that moment.
I’d love to hear what other simple ways you’ve found for how to be a good friend – please share in the comments!
This list is so darling! I’m definitely going to give these a try!
Hi! (all the hearts!)