Here are my top ten tips on how to maintain long-term friendship. Some things are simple with friends and some things are not. Understanding how you like to be treated can go a long way in being a good friend to those you care about the most. These are things that I try to do consistently for my friends. I have found that those in my life that I consider my friends too, do some or most of these things for me in return. It’s nice to make people feel comfortable. But it’s so much better if you can make your closest friends feel loved and appreciated.
1. Tell your friends when your thinking about them & why!
Too often life gets in the way and constant communication can be a challenge. But we all get those moments of clarity when someone randomly comes to mind. These are the moments we can enjoy our current lives in technology. Pick up the phone and tell them immediately, ‘Hi I was just thinking about you.”
Why stop there? Be that extra special friend that tells them why they came to mind. The first reason to add this is that we all like to know what memories are fondest. And I think people’s curiosity gets the best of us when it’s revealed by someone. Cuz you know you wonder when someone randomly hits us up, ‘Why now? I wonder what made them think of me…’ In short, it feels good to know you were thought of and it feels extra good to know why!
2. Use their true name, OFTEN
Did you know that there’s some recent science that says the sweetest sound you can hear is your own name? It makes sense because growing up our names are used for every reason and hopefully, in the most rewarding of ways, we are taught early that our name is meant to get our attention. And attention is good! It means involvement with another fellow human! Yay!
As adults and young children we learn the value of words like “I do” and “we did”, and sometimes your name gets lost in translation. How and when do you hear your name spoken out loud? Probably not as often as you’d like! With all the nicknames and pet names we have these days, it’s so nice to hear your name spoken out loud.
For these reasons, I try to use people’s true names when I see them. It always makes a great first impression to remember someone’s name too. In this way, if done throughout a relationship, it makes a lasting one!
3. Show interest in their daily life, not just the drama
I think we all get hung up on the drama. Curiosity gets the best of us and we find it easy to remember the crazy things going on in life. And so asking someone how their current day is going seems insignificant against the dramas of life. Take it from someone who notices, the little things during the day are just as important as the large dramas. And the friends that I hold of high value, take the time to ask how the day is as well as the big dramas we all go through.
Always offer help If needed offer help
You don’t want to be the friend that offers everything when they have nothing. And you don’t want to be the friend that always offers, but never actually helps. Or that guy who offers too much help, like they think they’ll always be able to do it better than you. You know the types…
What you do want to do for your friends is offer an honest service. When you know you can be of help and that you have the time to help, do it. And then stick to it. Offer the service, the availability and the resources when you can and be ready to reciprocate the offer with follow through. You will be remembered as a loyal, honest and helpful friend. And you can expect the same level of effort from them in the future. And trust me, they will want to put in as much effort as you did for them (rich or poor).
5. Don’t be afraid to accept help from your friends.
Sometimes you’ll be the friend that’s being offered help, and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to accept genuine help from your long-term friendships. Most likely there will be a time you can help them, so do them the service of letting your friends help you. Especially when you know you need it. Most things are easier when you have a team. So use your team!
6. Don’t let time be an excuse to check in, it has NOT “been too long”
Life gets in the way of everything! It’s not just you! So do not let, “Its been too long” be an excuse to not reach out to your closest friends. Chances are it’ll feel like no time has passed at all once you get to talking about life anyways.
7. Accept them for who they are today = Don’t hang on to who they were yesterday
That being said though, understand that people do change. I am constantly surprised at how quickly life can change its mind. So don’t forget to ask about the little things, remember? My only other tip here is to hide your surprise with excitement because people do change. Give them the benefit of the doubt that is for the better.
8. Compliments go a long way – Always
It doesn’t matter if it’s a stranger or your oldest friend, everyone likes a heartfelt compliment! Okay, so maybe you just like her sweater today, that counts. It doesn’t have to life-changing or dramatic, compliments can also be a quick, by the way, comment upon passing. There’s something that happens to peoples self-confidence that stays with them for hours or even days afterward. So, be a Complimentor!
9. Remember their stories of success & encourage the next step
Asking about the little things is important, but so are the big things. It always stinks when your best friend forgets that your mom is really sick or that you lost your cat last month… So it’s better to ask than to avoid the uncomfortable. This is a list for your long term friends, so yeah, the awkwardness is worth it. Ask them because no one else does. Being a supportive friend is being the best kind of friend you can be. If you’re struggling to help your friend deal with their bad life choices, check out this post.
10. Remain supportive,
even when they have issues. Especially when they have issues.
When shit gets tough, we all need our friends. Don’t be that guy that disappears when life starts to get hard. Stick around to help your brothers and sisters out because when your the one having a hard time… Your going to need them just as bad as they need you now. You can read more about how to tolerate people and their issues here.
So there are some ideas about how you can be a better friend. One that listens, responds, accurately offers help and knows them by name. I hope you can make a lasting impression on your new friends too! Because who knows, your next best friend who will end up making a HUGE difference to you could be just around the corner. After all, everything happens for a reason.
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Do you have a long term friendship you have maintained? What are your tips? Please share your story in a comment below