All relationships are romantic...even the ones that are platonic in nature. We often forget that our friendships need love too, and have to be nurtured and cared for in the same way our spouses or life partners do. If —for any reason, at all — your friendships are beginning to feel dull and disconnected, the good news is that you can spruce things up.
Here are seven ways to romance your friends and build the foundation to maintain a strong bond for life.
1. Ask Follow-Up Questions
People like to feel heard and understood. If a friend is sharing something with you, whether it’s something good in their life or something they’re struggling with, listen with open ears. Asking follow-up questions is a great way to encourage your friend to speak their mind and talk honestly about their feelings when they may not do it naturally. Going along with that, do your best to follow up about tough conversations a few weeks after they happen. Sometimes it takes a long time to process difficult things, and making sure that your friend is doing okay in the weeks after a challenge is always appreciated. Following up with your friend will ensure that they know their feelings are valid, and they will also know that you are here to support them.
2. Send Them Something in the Mail for Their Birthday
It’s easy for us to get so wrapped up in the busyness of our own lives and forget important dates in the lives of our friends. Make sure you write down your friends’ birthdays or events in your Google Calendar or planner so you don’t forget when important dates are coming up! When your friend’s special day is approaching, be sure to send them a little something in the mail– a birthday card, small gift, or a package with a few of their favorite things. Not only will this make them feel a little extra love on their birthday, but it will mean a lot that you thought about them and took the time to mail them something meaningful!
3. Go on a Date From Time to Time
Friendships need quality time just as much as romantic relationships do! What is your friend’s favorite restaurant or park? When the two of you get together, do you find yourselves excitedly chatting about a place on your bucket list but have yet to explore it? Surprise your friend by taking them out on a date to a place that has meaning for both of you, or try something new! Quality time is crucial within a friendship and can set the friendships that last a lifetime apart from those that don’t.
4. Call Them to Check In on Them
With our lives being so busy, we don’t always talk to our friends and family as often as we’d like to. One way you can make your friends feel important and valued is by calling them every once in a while to check in and catch up. Having a simple but intentional conversation with your friends will let them know you were thinking about them and care about them. Plus, hearing all the “deets” in each other’s life is so fun, especially when you don’t live near each other or get to chat every day!
5. Write Them a Letter of Appreciation
Words of affirmation are so important, especially when they aren’t heard very often! Consider writing each of your friends a letter of appreciation that thanks them for all they’ve done for you, lists the things you love about them, and mentions what you’re excited to do with them in the future. Your friend will appreciate the heartfelt message and your kind words will mean a lot to them.
6. Take a Trip With Them!
Need I say more? Plan a weekend getaway with a group of your closest people. We all need time to escape our daily lives and rest, and a weekend away is a great way to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with your people. Is there somewhere you’ve always wanted to go with your friend, or something you’ve always wanted to experience? Book that AirBnB and take that road trip! You won’t regret carving out the time to be with the people you love most.
7. Don’t Be on Your Phone When Spending Time With Them
In the technology-driven world we live in, a large portion of our lives tends to be on our cell phones. We spend our time mindlessly scrolling through social media or checking our e-mail, and sometimes forget to live in the moment and be where our feet are. When I’m spending time with someone and they put their phone away and truly focus on me, it makes me feel really special! I now do my best to put my phone away when I’m spending time with the people I love. If I have to glance at my phone for a good reason, I make a point to explain why (“I have to check who just texted me really quick, but after that, let’s continue our conversation”)! Making the choice to put your phone down when spending time with friends is sure to make them feel appreciated and valued.