With International Friendship Week upon us, it’s the perfect time to think about what friendship really means.
Over the years, I’ve had many acquaintances, some good friends but only a handful of truly great friends. I was never one to consider the people I partied with as great friends. Instead, I found the people who were there to listen, understand and not pass judgement were the people I wanted to invest time in. I’ve found true friends are those you laugh with, grow with and can be sad with as well.
When I was in my 20s, a friend gave me a gift that really blew me away. I’m sure to her she didn’t think twice but I still think about it to this day.
I’m allergic to nuts. So when it comes to receiving chocolates or candy, it can become tricky. Over the years, I’ve received chocolates as presents, thank-you packages and Valentines. However, all of those packages always contain chocolate with nuts. Normally I had to figure out which ones had nut products in them and give away or throw away the rest. Sometimes I just passed them on to the office because it was just too much of a pain to figure it out.
One summer, I invited several girlfriends to my family’s lake house for a girls’ vacation. My friend Jenny arrived with a simple package of chocolate and mentioned that she had asked the clerk to specially make up the box so that there were no chocolates with nuts in them. It was the first time anyone had ever done something like that. Sure, it may have seemed like such a simple thing to her, but it really let me know she had thought of me and taken time to think about the gift. It really hit home the importance of thinking about another and how the simplest of gestures can really mean something big.
This month, think about the friends in your life and how you let them know how much they mean to you. It doesn’t have to be something big, just something thoughtful.
Simple Yet Thoughtful Ways to Say “I’m Glad You’re My Friend”
1. Invite them over for coffee and a chat. Today, we can easily get over scheduled. Not every gathering needs to be an event. Just spending time face to face can let them know you value them.
2. Show up with dinner when they post on Facebook that one of their kiddos is sick and they’re stuck at home. Don’t ask. Just do it.
3. Pick a book you’ve read that you’ll know they’ll love, inscribe a message and give it as a gift.
4. Mail her a photo of you two. You can easily turn a photo into a postcard (and you can even print them out at home).
5. Make a mixed CD. It can be for when she’s driving without the kids or, if she likes to work out, for when she’s working up a sweat.
6. Take their kids for the afternoon or find another way to help out.
7. Make a hand-made card. Or, if you’re not crafty, buy a card and add a heartfelt note. There doesn’t need to be an occasion.
8. Send a text if you see something that reminds you of them and tell them so. There’s no reason to just keep it to yourself.
9. Plan a “date night” with the girls. Ditch the family and have some one on one time without life’s daily distractions.
10. Send them a cup of coffee through the Internet with a Starbucks eCard.
11. Craft a gift and give it for absolutely no reason. It doesn’t have to be a holiday or birthday to give something. For example, if you’re an avid knitter, create a scarf in her favorite colors.
12. Surprise them with an outing to try something new. If they’ve been talking about wanting to do something but haven’t made it happen, make it happen for them!
13. If something is wrong, pick up the phone. Or better yet, pop on over if you live in the same neighborhood. Sometimes it can be too easy to write a note to say you’re sorry a beloved dog passed away if they posted on Facebook. Better you say it directly.
14. Call last minute to see if you can get together. I often find I need to schedule things. But sometimes, if you find you have a moment, give it a chance. Even if they can’t get together with you, they’ll know you were thinking of them.
15. Celebrate their accomplishments. If they start a new job, send flowers to their work. Something that goes beyond just saying congratulations.
16. Invite your friends to your holiday gathering. Holidays are all about family. But it’s important to remember that friends can be just as much a part of your family as those you grew up with.
17. Remember their birthday. Send an actual card or post a special card online. Taking just a small extra step lets them know you’re thinking of them. Just don’t post “happy birthday” on Facebook and be done with it.
18. Make extras. Baking banana bread? Make an extra loaf, wrap it in ribbon and deliver it to her front door.
19. Put your friend on your to-do list. If too much time has gone by without talking, put that on your action items for the day. It’ll keep you from letting another day slip by without reaching out.
20. Make a scrapbook of your friendship. Or make a page she can add to her own personal scrapbook.
Bonus: Be a consistent, loyal and caring friend every day. From really listening when she needs to talk to participating in her joys as well, you can show your friend you care every day.