February 14th is the day of love. And while Valentine’s Day is a great time to celebrate romance, it can also be a time to reflect on our friendships. Most of us have far-away friends and next-door neighbors, and while technology has made it a little easier to keep in touch, maintaining strong relationships is no joke. That’s why we’re giving our three top tips for maintaining friendships as adults.
Stop Saying “I’m Too Busy”
Whether you’re just entering the workforce or you’re nearing retirement you’ve probably realized that keeping in touch with your friends is not as easy as it used to be. Your free time is limited and sometimes all you want to do is curl up in front of the couch after a long day at work. But, without giving your friends context, this can often seem like you’re just blowing them off. Instead of saying “I’m too busy”, ask them if they’re free for a phone call in the near future, or plan something a few weeks out. A counter offer shows them that you’re willing to make time for them, even if that time isn’t RIGHT NOW.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
If there is one thing that can harm a friendship, it’s lack of communication. Especially as our lives become more and more full, it can be really easy to forget to check in with our friends or let them know when we are hurt by their actions. Remember to communicate expectations clearly and alter them according to the other person’s needs as well. Don’t forget that small check-ins can go a long way, too. It doesn’t take an hour-long phone conversation to let them know you care. Sometimes all you need to do is shoot them a text to say you’re thinking of them.
Be Honest with Yourself
Often the hardest part about friendships is learning when to let go. There are some friends you’ll talk to once a week and some you’ll only talk to once a year and that’s OK. In fact, it’s completely normal. Learning to be honest with yourself and channel your expectations accordingly will save you a lot of stress in the future. If you find yourself forcing a friendship, after communicating your expectations (see point #2), then it might be time to start letting distance take its course.
Make February 14th a time to celebrate the gift of friendship and commit to making the most of yours this year!