Living In Gratitude: Loving and Investing in Friends

We all know how important it is to invest in our romantic relationships, making special gestures of affection, planning for the future, and spending quality time together. Making this same investment of time and energy is just as important with our friends. All relationships need continual nurturing to sustain them and make them grow. Extending love, support, and energy to friends will ensure your relationship with each individual remains strong and deeply rooted. 

True friendships:

  • Are respectful, thoughtful, and consistent
  • Honor commitments, have boundaries and reasonable expectations
  • Give one another special attention and invest in their future together as friends

Our biological families are ones with which we are born. Friends are the people we’ve chosen as our extended family. They provide love, support, fun, community, and very often a deep understanding and acceptance of us. True friends deserve special attention and focused energy.  

Here are five ways to express your love and appreciation to your chosen friend family.

1: Thoughtful Gestures

Find ways to express your appreciation for each of your friends in a way that is tailored to them. Think of all the special things you might do for a new romantic partner and do these for your friends. Bring them their favorite meal for lunch, send them a card just because, make a mix CD of their favorite songs, offer to pet sit when they’re away, bring them homemade soup when they’re sick, offer to help them write their resume or help them plan a vacation. You get the picture. These types of thoughtful gestures will make them feel special, loved, and supported. It will also deepen your relationship.

2: Be Emotionally Available

True friends are there for one another, especially when life throws us a curve ball. Being emotionally available for your friends strengthens empathy, deepens the foundations of friendship, and makes your friends feel seen, heard, and understood. If there are people in your life with whom you can’t or don’t want to be emotionally open, you should reconsider whether they should be a part of your extended friend family. 

3: Heartfelt Compliments

Good friends know a lot about each other. We know one another’s quirks and shortcomings as well as all of the amazing talents and strengths. Use this information to tell your friends how wonderful they are. Compliment them sincerely in public and in private. Sing their praises and let them know that you admire and respect them. These compliments can be verbal or written and should always be specific.  Rather than something as simple as, “You did great,” instead offer details such as, “Your performance was powerful and funny. All of the time and energy you took practicing your lines and getting into character really paid off.” 

4: Spend Intentional Time Together

Go on “dates” with your friends.Spending time with the people we care about most is vital to connecting and keeping the relationship strong. If your friends live nearby, go on hikes, out to dinner, shopping, grab coffee or lunch, go see a movie, concert, or comedy show, or spend hours binge-watching your favorite shows. If your friendship is long distance, schedule FaceTime or Skype calls, plan a vacation together, send texts to keep in touch, or watch a synced movie together and “chat” during the film.  

5: Invest in Your Future

By planning your future together, your friendship is more likely to endure.Talk about your dreams, career plans, values, aging, and children. Get deep and discuss what happens if one of you gets sick, what retirement might look like, bucket list items, and what you want out of life as individuals and as friends moving through life together. 

When we make time to deeply invest in and express our affection and gratitude for our friends, these relationships are strengthened and are more likely to last. True friends will be there for one another, will spend quality time together, and can create an amazing chosen community that can last a lifetime.

May your day be filled with gratitude, friendship, and good things.

Article excerpt from auto