How Not to Suck at Friendship

One thing I’m trying to work on this year is being a better friend. As a mom who works full time and also writes a blog, I find myself in front of a computer a lot more than I find myself in front of real, live people. Although I don’t intend to, I spend a lot more time building online friendships than I do maintaining those with my “real life” friends. My friends may say I need to follow this advice as much as anyone, so this list is as much for me as it is you.

Does anyone else struggle to make friendships a priority? 

How to be a better friend

{Schedule calls or texts} It seems a little ridiculous to have to add “text Becky” or “call Abby” to a daily to-do list. I mean, they’re your friends, right, so shouldn’t you just pick up the phone? However, for me at least, that physical reminder is something I need in order to do a better job of keeping in touch. Otherwise, I find myself saying again and again, “I should call…” but never actually doing it.

{Send snail mail} Who doesn’t love getting mail? Sometimes it’s nice to pick up a card that reminds you of a friend, and then just let her know that you’re thinking about her, or how much she means to you. A little reminder like that doesn’t take long, and it lets your friend know that even if you’ve been busy lately and haven’t had a chance to connect, she’s still important to you.

{Be flexible} Life is busy, and sometimes it seems impossible to make time for friends when the unexpected is always coming up. I’m not a very flexible person by nature, but I’m trying to overcome that; otherwise, it’s easy to miss out on opportunities to spend time with friends who also have busy lives. For example, maybe I’ll agree to see a friend I haven’t seen in awhile, even if it’s Jona’s nap time (which is easier now that he’s a toddler than it was when he was a baby), or meet a friend close to her house, even if it’s far away from me.

{Disconnect} You know you’ve been there before, when you’ve been out to eat with friends and you’re all just sitting there in silence because you’re all on your phones. I know I’m guilty of that. However, when you put your phone away and give your friends your full attention, I think often they’ll follow suit. Particularly when it’s someone you don’t see very often, being able to talk to her without distractions can mean a lot.

{Communicate her way} My best friend rarely answers her phone for a call; I know that if I want to get in touch with her, the best way is to text her. Others I know prefer email for communicating, while some like having a conversation on the phone. If you want to make an effort to maintain a friendship, keep in mind the way your friend prefers to communicate.  

{Share the little things} I sometimes feel I need a reason to get in touch with a friend. Yet I think it’s by sharing small, sometimes mundane, everyday happenings that friendships keep that familiarity and closeness. My husband and his friends do this very well. He and his friends are constantly communicating via a big group text, and honestly, it often drives me crazy. Yet there’s something admirable about how they stay in touch and share their daily lives with one another.

How do you keep up with your friends and show them you care? 

Shea lives in Olathe with her husband Aaron, children Jona and Violet, and their spoiled mutt Ellie. She’s a busy working mom who finds her balance in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes that her picky toddler won’t touch. At the end of a long day, you’ll either find her curled up on the couch with a good book, or busy writing posts for her life and style blog, Shea Lennon, where she hopes to inspire women to look good and live well on a budget. Whether she’s reading or blogging, she’ll likely be accompanied by a bowl of ice cream (the chocolatier, the better) or a glass of wine. And on a good night, both.