Even if it's making sure you respond to each other's facebook messages, your gesture of friendship won't go unappreciated. Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at freedigitalimages.net
We all have recognised and appreciated the value of friendships in our lives – whether they be one of those precious enduring mateships or mates that have even been in our lives in six months or so.
I don’t believe human beings are meant to be alone – not all the time anyway. Our relationships with others enrich our lives because they provide us with others we relate to – having people who share commonalities in itself offers the gift of comradeship.
We can share with others differences in thoughts and feelings too, allowing us to see things from another perspective, or learn things we did not know.
Being with another person without even saying a word or by offering hugs and smiles can offer a non-verbal comfort and feeling of closeness.
Not all the people I call friends will necessarily be as close as others. However, I have been fortunate enough to have some very special friends in the course of my life. Being special doesn’t necessarily mean I keep in touch with them that frequently, but they include the kind of people I can reunite with after 6 months of not being in touch and feel as close as ever to.
I’m not happy to confess I haven’t always been the best friend I can be. It’s one of my evolving resolutions I would like work on. Here are some reflections of some every day gestures, some seemingly minor, that I feel I can do more frequently to be that better friend I want to be.
1. Remember Birthdays. I am terrible with this. As much as I may remember it’s a friend’s birthday, sometimes when a lot has been doing on for me, I fail to spoil this person how I would like to. However, I know how much it means to me when others remember my birthday, and I plan to try to make more of an effort.
2. Keep in touch. Visiting and phone calls are obviously more personal than say, facebook-ing or text messaging, but even a quick facebook message is better than nothing.
3. Don't take it personally! You know it’s because you’ve had a lot of stress lately, been super-busy, or yes, I admit I can be just plain slack, but reminding someone your lack of contact is not personal can be very important. Sometimes I forget people are not mind-readers, and am surprised when they say ‘they thought they did something wrong’, when of course, it’s nothing to do with them at all.
4. Is there anything I can do? It’s easy enough to be a friend when the other is cheerful and has no problems, but a true friend stays when others have opted out.
5. As Stevie Wonder's song touchingly says "I just called to say I love you."
It touches me when someone rings just to say ‘how are you?’ for absolutely no purpose than they were thinking of you.
6. You can find inexpensive ways of showing someone you care. For example, a bunch of flowers when there’s no special occasion! I had a friend who got me little cats from op shops. I have them all over the place, and because the person knows I love felines, it was extra special because it was personalised.
7. Be a good listener. I noticed something else not to crash hot about my interactions with others. Often when they were talking I inadvertently sometimes found my mind would wonder. I’d be thinking of something I was going to tell them for example. However, when I made a concerted effort to listen, I felt it was appreciated. This is also great when you are hearing someone’s name for the first time. When you listen, you are telling the person "You are important to me - I value what you have to tell me, and I validate you as a person."
8. Smile . There’s a lovely young woman who works in the pharmacy I go to. Even when we don’t stop for a quick conversation, when we exchange smiles there’s a quick positive exchange of really positive energy between us.
9. Thank the friend for what they mean to you. So, in the above example, I think I will tell this lovely girl “when you smile at me, it really uplifts my spirits – thank you!” People really appreciate it when you have noticed things they've done, they might not even be aware of. That you thought to tell them lets them know they have played a special role in your life.
10. Remember their name. I had a boyfriend once who called me Jasmine for about 4 years – my name was Justine. Because he gave good cuddles I forgave partially, but sometimes it made me wonder how important I was…
I think it's quite bazair that I just finished writing an email out lying to what I thought was a friend asking why I haven't had any response to my various forms of communication We have a lot in common and felt it sad that have been ignored with no explanation .Then I go back to my ipad and there is your article
I hope I will get some peace of mind .? Thanks Lee
Yes, it can be so anxiety-provoking ruminating on all the possible reasons for correspondence to people who are close to us, which isn't reciprocated. I wish I could give you a more definite answer, but I guess if you think "this probably is not anything to do with me..." then it could help. Perhaps she has a lot of stuff going on. But I do understand - but try to be positive. It sounds like you are doing all the positive things friends should ideally do. I hope she gets back to you.