In my twenties, I was a way better friend than I am now. Back then, things were much more simple. There was no child and no husband. I had a lot more energy, and I think, although I can’t prove it for a fact, that there were more hours in the day. My girlfriends and I would call each other and talk on the phone all day and all night. When we all scattered to different cities on the East Coast, it was nothing to jump in the car and drive 8 hours roundtrip just to hang out for an evening with each other. Things have definitely changed.
Now that we’re older now, trying to synchronize schedules is practically impossible without at least 6 months notice. There’s much less time to talk on the telephone, and most of us are no longer a short car ride away from each other. I’ve been really blessed to have friends that transformed into family for me, and I want to be better about honoring that. I’m tired of the excuse that there’s no time. If I’m alive, I have time to check up on my friends. So, I’ve been thinking about how I can be a better friend despite the full-time job, the 5 year old and the new spouse. I came up with a few ideas, and asked other folks for their tips as well. Here’s what we came up with:
A Check In Can Be Quick
Even though you’re short on time, it doesn’t mean you can’t check in. Every check in doesn’t have to be an hour long phone call.
Send a “how are you” text, Facebook inbox, or quick call to say hello. – Joyce from Mommy Talk Show
Make the effort to check in every once in awhile, even if it’s just a text, quick email, or a funny e-card. Sometimes that’s all that someone needs to know that you care. – Lindsay from The Naughty Mommy
Be A Good Listener
When you get a chance to talk to your friend, eliminate distractions and listen to them. Give them your full attention.
Be a good listener and pay attention to what is not said as well as what is said. However, this does not mean make assumptions. – Patricia from PatriciaPatton.com
Don’t be afraid to ask your friend if they’re really okay. -Aida from Girlfriends With Goals
Understand that sometimes your friend just wants a safe place to vent and be that place and encourage her to share her story and heart with you because it is a safe place. Janeane from Janeane’s World
Taking the time to listen carefully and fully getting to know them. Once you do, you can discern when they just need someone to listen, need just encouragement or are seeking an answer that you might have. – Gina from Mom-Blog
Love your friend for who they are. You can be honest without judging.
Leave judgment at the door in thought, words, or actions. Your friend should be able to be free to be who they are, not what others perceive them to be or think they should be. – Mandi from Chewsy Lovers
We all get busy and have things going on. It’s still important to be aware of what your friends might be going through.
Be attentive. Notice when things look & sound different. Ask questions. Don’t shy away. – Pamela from Still Dating My Spouse
Make an effort to remember not only the big details of their life but also the little details as well. – Megan from NEPA Mom
Even if you can’t get together in person, a thoughtful gift is a nice gesture that says, “I’m thinking about you!”
Surprise her with a coffee or a glass/bottle of wine for no reason. – Julie from Julieverse.com
When I know a friend is having a bad day or going through a rough time I try to do something to brighten their day. Whether it’s making plans to get together or dropping off some wine and cookies. It’s about letting them know I am there if they need me. – Julia from Wine In Mom
Tell them how pretty they are and point out their positive qualities!! We all could use a little pat on the back now and then. – Sarah from Finnegan and the Hughes
Keep a list of things she likes when you’re shopping together but won’t buy for herself. Then you have a list of perfect birthday presents you know she’ll love! – Rachel from Can’t Google Everything
Take It Offline
Facebook and texting are great, but sometimes your friend needs you to take it offline.
Pick up the phone and make a call. No text, no email, instead have a real voice conversation. Ask about them and what’s going on in their life. Sometimes the really important things in life are left off social media. - Melinda from Look What Mom Found
Initiate a face-to-face- meeting. Tell them you’ll treat her to coffee and allow her to use that short time to chat about what’s going on in her life. It’s sometimes easier to see if a friend is struggling if you can actually interact with them in person. – Amiyrah from 4 Hats And Frugal
Keep It Real
Being a true friend means being real. It takes more time to be secretive and fake anyway!
Be transparent!! Let them know about your struggles if you’re comfortable with that. This builds trust and lets your friend know they can take off the mask. – Saidah from A Proverbs Wife
Be honest. There’s nothing worse than a “friend” who doesn’t call you on your bs. – Raya from And Starring As Herself