Your friends are some of the most important in your life. Some of your friends may be old friends who have been with you through numerous life events, while some may be new friends from work or other places that are always there for you when you need them. Studies have shown that people with over five “close friends” tend to be much happier than people with fewer than five “close friends”. Just like all relationships, however, friendships need work from both ends to not only help them grow, but to maintain them.

Staying Connected

Young Mothers Walking with Their BabiesWhen you are in high-school or college, it is almost unheard of to go multiple days without talking to your friends. In this age of instant communication, it is easier than ever to contact another person. As people grow older, however, more and more commitments come up, such as work commitments, intimate relationships, and children. Before you know it, you may realize you have gone two months without talking to some of your best friends. Staying connected is important, even if it just a simple text or email. Friendship is a two-way street; even if you are busy, it is important to show an interest in your friend’s life. It is also important to be a good listener. All positive relationships are built on strong communication. If you or your friend has moved away, due to school or a job, try to stay in touch as much as possible. Call your friend or schedule a video chat whenever you have the opportunity. If possible, you can also try to visit your friend. This is especially important if they are in a place where they don’t really know anyone, and can be a great relief and comfort for them to see a friendly face.

Fit people in a spin class

Set Informal Dates

Setting dates is essential to maintaining friendships, particularly if the friendship is long-distance. People move all the time, whether for work, school, or other reasons, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t be great friends. In today’s world, it is easier than ever to contact your friends, even if they live on the other side of the world. The first thing you need to do is figure out a time that works for both of you to arrange either a phone call or a video chat. There are a number of things to consider when you make this time: time zone differences, work, school, and so on. The best time may be on the weekend if both of you are free. Set a date and stick to it. For example, you may Skype every Saturday morning, or every 2nd Sunday. This is a great way to stay on schedule and ensure you don’t go too long without talking. If, for some reason, one of you cannot make the scheduled date, simply contact the other person and try to re-schedule. Some people prefer to be more flexible, however. A simple text or email saying “do you want to talk/video chat tonight at 7” may be enough for some people. Always make sure you have enough time to talk about both you and them. Friendship is a two-way street, and you need to listen to each other equally. This way, no one feels left out, and you are both up to date with what is happening in the other person’s life. A group chat is a great way to stay in touch if you and multiple friends are living in different cities, and you may be able to organize a certain day each week where everyone tries to get on the chat.