It was a Friday night and she just got off the phone with her now ex-boyfriend. She had only been dating this man for 4.5 months, but it felt like so much longer than that. When she got off the phone she slowly fell to her knees in her apartment hallway crying into her own two hands.
She was crushed. She didn’t know what to do or who she could tell. In fact, she really didn’t want to talk to anyone at all. Once she finally got herself pulled together, she went to the one safe place she knew she could go to – her grandma’s house. Because grandma’s house wasn’t just a safe place, but it felt like a total escape from reality.
The next day wasn’t any easier. You know how it goes in a breakup. You constantly think about what you could have said or done differently or you think about all the things you miss about that special guy that was in your life. Finally those thoughts had gotten to be too much swirling all around in her head for her to handle on her own that she sent a text to her friend who lived just a few minutes away. That text was short and to the point, “He broke up with me.”
That girl was me. And that friend is one of my very loving friends.
Her response to that text is what made all the difference. She responded right away, she asked how I was doing; she cleared her plans to make time to see me and have me over to her place so I wouldn’t have to be alone. So that Saturday afternoon, I had a bag of popcorn, a bottle of red wine, and a sweet friend who sat on the lawn with me for hours listening to my fears, my questions, my insecurities, and most of all just sitting with me through the tears running down my face while I tried to make sense of what just happened within the last 24 hours.
That friend who sat with me that day made all the difference. She was there for me, she had my back, and she made sure I knew how much I mattered to her and to the other people in my life. And most of all she showed me how important it is to have incredible friends in your life that are genuine and who you can always count on to be there for you in your life no matter what you are going through.
Have you ever thought about the types of friends you have in your life? Maybe you have the friends that you can talk to about anything, or the friends that make you laugh on a dime, or the friends that you can share all your struggles or dreams with.
Those friends that stick out to you as phenomenal women in your life, how do they do it? How do they always make you feel so at ease, so cared about, so carefree, and most of all so supported and loved? How did they become like family to you or in some instances even more a part of your life than your family is?
We all have a desire to feel seen, valued, and heard. We all have a desire to connect with one another and feel like we belong.There are more than 7 billion people in this world. God did not create us to do life by ourselves with no relationships and no friends.
Friends can have a huge impact on your life. So how do you be a better friend to those amazing people you have in your life that you admire and are so grateful to be able to call them your friends?
Here are just a few ideas on how to show how much you appreciate your friends and more importantly how to be a better friend to those people that matter to you in your life.
Listen to your friends. Don’t always try to one up them on a story they share, but instead truly listen to what they want to share with you when you spend time together. (Confession – sometimes I don’t have the best memory and I take notes about things going on with different friends after we are done hanging out so I can remember to ask about x,y, or z the next time we get together.)
Have an open mind. Support your friends and their beliefs without arguing or telling them they are wrong. Seek to understand what matters to them and why it matters so much to them.
Be vulnerable. Friendship is a funny thing because some of our best friends we still don’t have the courage to share parts of our life with. But by being vulnerable and opening up with your friends past the small talk or surface level conversations, that invites them to do the same. By opening up to them with the real, honest truth about something going on in your life, that creates a deeper connection and trust between you and that friend.
Be respectful of their time and needs. All of our friends are going through different stages of life at different times. It may not always work to get together as much as you used to, but no matter what is going on, don’t guilt trip your friend into getting together or putting pressure on them to make time to hang out every time you invite them somewhere. Chances are high that they would so love to hang out with you, but they recognize the need to set boundaries in their life so they can focus on different priorities at different times.
Try new things. Maybe you are used to always going to the same spot for happy hour every time you get together with one of your friends. How about asking them what their favorite restaurant is so the next time you get together you can suggest that and make the night just a little more special for them?
Tell them how much you adore them. Whether it’s letting them know how much you appreciate them as a friend in person or letting them know why you appreciate their friendship through a text or email, just take the time to let them know that they matter to you.
Remember their important dates. Most of the time this is remembering their birthdays, but also take time to remember other dates like their first day of work at a new job, an anniversary, the death of a family member, the day of a medical diagnosis, or a day they got some difficult news like finding out they had their first miscarriage. Remember these dates and make an extra effort to be there for your friends during these times.
Be intentional with your friends. Many times we don’t get to see our friends as much as we would like to. It may be because they live in another state or it may be because your schedules are just so different. That means when you do actually get together that time is so important. Be intentional about how you want to spend that time with your friend. (Confession #2 – One thing that a friend of mine and I do each time before we get together is we write a list of all the questions or topics we have for each other to make sure we didn’t forget anything. And yes, we have actually pulled those lists of paper out at the end of one of our friend dates to make sure we didn’t forget anything.)
Don’t rush the time you spend together. If you have a limited amount of time when you are hanging out with your friend before you have to leave to get home or to another appointment, let them know ahead of time. Set clear expectations so they don’t feel like you are just trying to “fit” them in to your schedule. And if you do have a certain time you have to leave – set an alarm on your phone so that you don’t keep checking your phone when you are hanging out with your friend which could make them feel unimportant and that you are more interested in your phone.
Send surprises. Whether that means sending a card in the mail just because or sending an email to your friends letting them know you are thinking about them, it doesn’t matter how you do it, but just do it. It’s the little things that matter and that create a stronger connection between you and your friends.
Have fun with them! If they are in a spontaneous mood and want to randomly go on a road trip or they want to have a cheesy movie marathon, or they want to go to the random brewery event in town, go ahead and let loose and focus on having more fun! Friendships are a beautiful way to have more fun and be goofy with the people that you care about most. Plus, we all have so many facets that make us who we are as individuals so it’s important to let each side of you be seen in a friendship when you get to the point of feeling comfortable showing that side of you.
These are just a few of the ways you can choose to be a better friend to those friends you already have in your life. These are also great things to remember as you create new friendships or want to strengthen current friendships in your life.
What are you going to focus on doing more of for your friends? What do you want to practice doing more of the next time you see a friend?
Take some time to think about it and if you have any other suggestions on how to be a better friend to those people that matter most to you, go ahead and post them in the comments below. I would love to hear all of your suggestions.
Friends make life more fun, more meaningful, and more fulfilling. Always put in the effort to be a sincere and caring friend to those you have in your life before the time is gone.
Hugs & Mochas,