Recently, I was thinking about friendship.
I mean it is something people think a lot about, am I right?
We live in a world which is basically buzzing with connection, where we have the ability to communicate quicker and easier than we ever have done before.
We are a world obsessed with watching one another’s lives on Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram, and constructing ‘Squads’ and having ‘Squad Goals.’
And yet, we hear about how people feel more lonely than ever, which totally bums me out because out of anything I think people deserve in this world, friendship is one of the necessities.
When I was studying at Uni, there was this theory that the reason why people felt this way was because of Urbanization, and the fact that as we drew closer and closer together people felt more and more separate. And yeah, sure perhaps that is one reason, but the reasons don’t seem to be helping us at all.
The central question, is how do we get better at this. How do we become better at expressing and forming friendships with other people in a day and age that it should be so easy, but it isn’t?
The short answer? Effort.
We have to put effort into friendships which means that our actions must be meaningful, thoughtful and specific.
So here are some of my ideas of short and easy ways that you can show someone you care by engaging in a meaningful, thoughtful and specific act of friendship.
Oh yes. The all allusive game of ‘Note Writing’. Honestly? I am a big note writer – I think partly because I am 100% a word person, and party because I love pretty paper and envelopes. As a result, I tend to keep note paper and cards on hand to be used at any occasion.
Yes, you can send emails.
Yes you can send text messages
YES these are both faster and easier, but that is the point. Writing a note means you had to find a pen, find some paper, buy a stamp (if you’re posting it!) go somewhere to mail it etc. It means it cost you time and energy to do. Notes are the easiest and simplest way to make someone feel important.
If you’re still completely unmotivated as to sending a note, another creative idea is to write a note down on any old piece of paper, take a photo and then send that picture to someone in an email or text. Same feels – a little easier.
The Magic Words
There are six magic words in the ‘Spontaneous Friendship Text’ and those are the following:
‘I was thinking about you today.’
I have this little pattern I follow in my head. If I find myself randomly thinking about someone I care about, I fire them a quick text and almost always I will begin that text with those six magic words.
Let’s be honest, obscure ‘Hey, how’s it going?’s in the middle of the day aren’t nearly as heart warming as the fact that someone was thinking about you today, and was as a result motivated to reach out to you.
I think those are really special words. Making someone feel remembered is the activity of a very good and genuine friendship.
Meaning What You Say.
People can spot something inauthentic a mile off, so when it comes to friendship, mean it.
There was this one time that someone made plans to hang out with me, and it was the first time we had caught up in a long, long time and I was super amped about it. So I got in my car that determined Saturday and drove to the café at the time that we had planned to meet.
After about ten minutes or so, I felt a little awkward so text the person I’d made plans with, and they came back with the fact that they’d totally forgotten they were meant to catch up with me, and would be there shortly.
Ordinarily this would have been totally fine, I mean people are buys, they forget, but this same situation happened several times over and over again in the months that followed.
Whenever I made plans, she would cancel last minute, or be super late, or not show up again, so it shifted from a ‘all good, I understand we can forget or get busy’ to the fact that she appeared to be catching up with me if she had nothing better to do.
I felt quite challenged recently, because often I too get pretty busy, and I have canceled on people too! As a result, I’ve totally pulled myself up about it because I was becoming pretty flakey.
Yes, I understand we have a social smorgasbord of things to do and people to see, but when we say yes to something and someone, we need to put effort into keeping our word.
Anyway, so those are my three tips of making sure that we engage well as a friend.
The reality is that these tips won’t magic you friends from all the corners of the world, but they are useful to help be a better friend to others, which at the end of the day is what it is all about.
Friendship is a pretty spectacular thing, and I think it requires effort and time but it really is a privilege to make sure people feel like they matter.