How to strengthen your friendships
Keeping friendships afloat can feel like a full-time job. But investing in your friendships is an investment in you. Studies show that the support we get from our close friendships can lead to significantly healthier and happier lives. In short, take care of your friends and they’ll take care of you, too. Here are some simple digital tricks to make you friend of the year.
1. “You remembered!”
We all have a lot going on. But if you can be the kind of friend that remembers the important stuff happening in your friend’s life, you’ll get a reputation for being thoughtful, loyal, and considerate. And chances are good you’ll just make their day. In this case, calendar reminders are your best friend. Set calendar reminders whenever you hear something noteworthy on the horizon for someone you love. Did your friend mention her mom is having an important surgery two weeks from now? Make a note in your calendar and follow up afterward to ask “Hey, how did it go?” Big job interview coming up? Set a reminder and text your friend first thing in the morning to wish her luck. Other good times for a friendly follow-up include: “Safe travels today, can’t wait to see photos!” / “Happy first day of work, knock ‘em dead!” / “Happy anniversary, lovebirds!”
2. “Aw, you shouldn’t have!”
Birthdays happen every year and so does the holiday season. But finding presents for the people we love can feel like an insurmountable task. Don’t fall into the generic gift card trap—there’s a better way. Here’s a little secret—if you pay attention, people will always tell you what they actually want. Maybe you’re out shopping with a friend and they spot something that catches their eye. Or you’re on the phone and they mention their favorite flower, wine, author, etc. Even Instagram can tip you off—notice when a friend tags you in a post for a cute top or clutch or earrings. Year-round, it pays to be on high alert when a friend or sibling, or parent casually drops something they want. And when that happens, rush to the notes app in your phone, where you can keep a tally of ideas just for this reason. Then when gift season rolls around, you can just pull up your handy list and get shopping. They’ll be impressed you paid attention, and they’ll actually love what you give them. Listen up. Jot it down.
3. “What a great surprise!”
Sometimes a friend is down and out or celebrating a win, and you can’t be there to give them a hug or bring over a bottle of champagne to pop open. Thankfully, technology is there when you can’t be. For the friend having a work crisis or a fight with her boyfriend, ping their Venmo with $5 for a coffee or cookie. It sounds small and silly—and it kind of is—but it will definitely make them smile, act as a pick-me-up, and remind them someone cares. Or drop their address into your favorite delivery service and surprise them with ice cream, dumplings, or a pizza on the fly. A little love goes a long, long way.
When it comes to friendship, the little things really do matter. Think of it like a long-term investment that pays dividends with time—the more you put in, the more you get back in the end. That’s why these small gestures truly add up, and can deeply strengthen the important bonds in your life. Congrats! The friend award goes to you.