We’ve all experienced it. That incredible friendship that you can’t imagine ending. You spend all of your free time together, you can talk about nothing for hours, and they are the only one in the world that seems to truly get you. You feel so happy to have someone in your corner, because quite frankly it feels like no one else is. Then the unthinkable happens, you drift apart. Maybe someone moves to a new city, or maybe life just gets too busy. That bond that once felt so strong, now seems severed. Not because anything dramatic happened, just because it faded.
Sure, we can find new friends. That’s a given, but often, at least for me, the thought of my old friendships feels like a stab to my heart; a regret. So, what can we do to stop this from happening? How can we keep our friends close? Is it possible to reignite those friendships that we wish we’d had never lost?
#1 Be The Kind Of Friend You Need
This could also be said in the more classic, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Be kind. Don’t be condescending. Don’t look at your phone constantly, and make sure you give them your full attention. Go out of your way to do nice things for them. Have you ever gotten a package in the mail and instantly felt in a great mood? Give that gift to your friend. Send them something, anything to let them know that you are thinking of them. I’ve found that the more generous I am with my friends, the more love I get in return as well. It raises the standard in your relationship. Not to mention, being kind and giving, will always make you feel good too.
#2 Don’t Ignore Them
In this fast paced world, it can be very easy to get distracted. Unfortunately, this leaves our relationships vulnerable. We’ve all been guilty of it. Never actually texting our friends back, because we already answered them in our minds. So, their text goes on sitting in our inbox unattended. So here is something that has helped me: Once a day I go through all of my text messages and make sure that I have responded to them. “How will I find the time?,” you might ask. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute. How many hours a day do we sit and scroll through our social media apps? I once read this amazing tip: Every time you think “I don’t have the time” instead say, “It is not a priority to me.” Ouch, right? It is the truth though.
#3 Learn How To Ask Good Questions
“How are you?” “What’s up?”
The creativity is overwhelming, right? We often (yes, me too) ask the most general questions, that make it easy for others to give us shallow answers. The truth is, don’t we all really want to be seen? Don’t we want to be known? So instead of asking questions that feel routine, switch it up! Ask questions that specifically apply to them, and it will help your friends feel like you care about what is important to them.
“Are you still taking those piano lessons at the college? I really wanna hear what you’ve been working on!”
“How is school? I’m sorry that your Chemistry class has been so hard this year.”
The list could go on and on. The important thing about asking good questions, is that they are specific to the person.
It’s great to learn how to be a better friend, but what about the friendships we have already let slip? Should we just count it as a past mistake? My answer is a resounding NO. It is never too late to be a good friend. REACH OUT! Sure, there is always a chance that they may not want to revisit the past, but you will never know until you try.
I had a friend like this. We were inseparable in high school. We had sleepovers almost every weekend, went on a camping trip together, and she was the closest friend I had. When I moved away for college, everything changed. We would talk occasionally but those phone calls eventually stopped. We were leading different lives. I got married and she graduated college and became a teacher. We would like each others posts on social media occasionally, but we were no longer friends. This past year I got some really devastating news and for some reason I just wanted to talk to my old best friend. I texted her and told her everything. She texted me, “Oh my goodness Jubi, I am so sorry. Hold on, I’m going to call you in a few minutes. I’m leaving my Grannies right now.” I broke down in tears. She was there for me. After all of these years, she was so willing to step in the role of my dear friend. I was out of the house so I couldn’t talk on the phone, but we messaged all night. In the midst of our talk, she texted me this.
“I really miss you. I wish I could’ve gone to your wedding. It looked absolutely gorgeous. I’m so sorry I was such a horrible friend these past few years.”
This is exactly how I felt. I had let our friendship die, but thankfully friendships can always be reborn. Since that day when I cried out for her help, we have only grown closer. I can’t explain how that one text restored years of distance. We’ve laughed, sent each other gifts in the mail, shared our hearts, and I am looking forward to when she visits me this summer in Atlanta!
Good friendships are worth fighting for. Whether it has been a year, 5 years, or 20 years, it is not too late to be a good friend. Send that text, make that phone call, tell that person that you miss having them in your life. I promise it is worth it.