There is not much in life more important than friends. Many say friends are the family we choose to have, and the sense of belonging from finding your ‘tribe’ can have an absolutely transformative effect on your life. As human beings, we long to make connections and be accepted by others, it’s a fundamental part of what drives us. Lifelong friendships are the strongest part of this, and have a value far beyond the material aspects of life that we can get so caught up in. True friends stick with you through the best of times and the worst. They are there to celebrate your victories and commiserate when life deals you a bad hand. They are the people who will accept and celebrate all your quirkier features, accept who you truly are and love you for it – and in the process, teach you how to love yourself.
This feeling is so good, it’s no wonder you feel profoundly thankful if you have great friendships – they are truly a blessing. Often, we wish we could show our friends how much they really mean to us. But buying them the odd coffee or giving a throwaway compliment doesn’t seem to go far enough. You want to make them aware of how important they are to you, and make a gesture that will show them how much you appreciate having them in your life. Research into happiness by the Harvard Grant Study confirms what we already know in our hearts is true – the relationships we form are the biggest factor in whether or not we feel happy. So, what can you do to show your friends that they truly matter to you?
Make Them Number One
Showing love means showing someone that they are important to you. The trouble is, modern life almost conditions us to be distracted. We meet with a friend who is having a bad day to listen to their problems, but – ping! – every couple of seconds, we’re distracted by another notification popping up on our screens. We may not mean to, but this fractured attention sends a subliminal message to our friends that we aren’t truly interested, and that their concerns are not a priority to us. If you have trouble focusing, try an app that temporarily blocks your social media accounts when you are spending time with your friends. It may seem extreme, but your undivided attention is really the biggest compliment you can pay someone. If a friend needs you, drop everything to be there. Had plans to go out to dinner? Cancel them if a friend needs you. Be there for someone in times of crisis and they will know that you truly care about then.
Try A Personal Gift
Caring is all about showing people you are thinking of them, and an unexpected gift is just the way to do this. You don’t have to wait until their birthday or Christmas – the best gifts come out of the blue and are highly personal to the likes of the person that you are giving to. They definitely don’t have to be extravagant to have impact, either. In fact, the best gifts are often small but highly personal, like spotting that hard to get candy they love. It shows that you are thinking of them when you’re apart, and that makes it special. If you know a friend is having a hard time at the moment, cheer her up with amazing Gifts for her from Cuckooland. Find tickets to an event she will love and book for you both to go, or even take the time to bake her some cookies. It could even be as simple as taking her a bunch of flowers for no reason. Unexpected thoughtful touches are a great way to celebrate a friendship. Don’t save all the effort for romantic relationships – your friends are just as deserving.
Create New Memories Together
Friendship is all about experiencing what life has to offer- together. So plan a day out or a trip somewhere that will help you to make even more special memories. There are a whole variety of things you could do, from planning a road trip to somewhere you’ve both always wanted to visit (complete with making a custom road trip playlist of course) to something as low key as taking a picnic to your local park or beauty spot, making sure that you pack all their favourite treats. Depending on what you like you could do something more adventurous – from a rally driving course to salsa dancing lessons. Something that could lead to a new hobby you can pursue together is a brilliant idea. Or simply make a big deal of movie night at home or a pamper party with some cool new products. Anything that can create positive memories for you to share is a great idea.
Treat Them To Dinner
This doesn’t have to mean spending loads of money on a fancy restaurant (although if you want to, there’s nothing stopping you). It’s more about the times when you know they are going through a tough situation or have been feeling a little down for some reason. Stop by after work and bring dinner with you – a homemade lasagne or hearty stew or even just a takeout pizza. It doesn’t have to be anything out of the ordinary, just something you can eat together that shows you’re looking out for them. There are loads of slow cooker recipes for a casual dinner with friends. Just show up and start dishing out plates, no questions asked.
Send a Card
It sounds a little retro, but since most of our communication these days is digital, when is the last time you received something more exciting than a takeaway menu or a bill through the mail? Break the cycle by sending your friend a cute little something through the mail – for no reason other than that you love them. An app like Touchnote lets you create cards on your phone and get them posted out. Send a picture of you doing something fun together or even a llama in a funny hat if that’s what will make them smile. It all shows that you’re thinking of them.