“What a lot of people don’t appear to understand is that the single easiest way to make friends is to show up when it matters — and the single easiest way to lose friends is to, well, not.” Jackie Luo
This article just hit me right in the spot
that makes you say YES, EXACTLY! I read it a few weeks ago, and I shared it on my social media immediately. Never have I seen my feelings so wonderfully articulated. Here’s the thing, I am a big believer in “showing up” for friends.
I get it. Everyone is “busy” (hate that word), and we can’t be everywhere we’d like to be, but when your friend needs you or does something cool…ya need to show up and support that friend
. We’re also terrible at saying we will show up then either 1) bailing at the last minute or 2) no-showing. What is up with that? Why do we do this? And why is this becoming a cultural phenomenon?
I’m certain I have done this more than once and thinking about it now mortifies me.
Let’s face it. We suck at adult friendships. ? It was so much easier to make friends when we were kids, before spouses, kids, mortgages, and careers came along. Life was simple and so were our friendships, but friendships are just as important (if not more) in adulthood. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Adult friendships can be hard and not all friendships last, but all friendships do take effort if they’re going to survive and prosper.
1) Don’t be chill when it comes to making friends
Tell people you like or respect or value that they’re great, and you want to hang out with them. Is it forward? Yes, but why not reach out? Just following someone on the ‘gram isn’t going to spark a friendship. If they signal that they’re not interested, that’s fine — but don’t miss the opportunity to get to know someone wonderful just because you don’t want to appear overly eager. Take a risk, friends!
2) Be personal
Talk about your real problems (yeah, I went there), and ask people about theirs. Invite someone into your home instead of going to a bar or coffee shop. Give thoughtful gifts that are specifically and particularly for your friend. A big part of friendship is understanding someone for who they are and having them understand you for who you are, and that’s not possible without some degree of vulnerability. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but man, is it rewarding to be real and personal with your friends.
3) Get comfortable saying no to people you don’t want to prioritize
That sounds harsh, but in the end, it will save your time and effort (and theirs for that matter). It’s not a kindness to “perform” friendship without genuine support and commitment, and let’s face it. both of you have limited time to spend. Instead of saying you’ll grab lunch and then canceling yet again, you can just part ways and make friends who are better suited to each of you. Life is too short to play the “We should meet up sometime!” game.
4) Remember to reciprocate
If your friend is always the initiator, invite them to do something with you. If you do have to cancel on someone — sometimes life happens — you should be the one to make a plan for the future. And then make sure that it happens. Canceling on someone, then not rescheduling your time together, feels lousy. Don’t be that friend!
5) Show up for people who matter to you
Sometimes that means your physical presence; sometimes that just means your emotional support. There will always be reasons to not be there (hate to tell ya, but life won’t slow down next month), but if you keep choosing other commitments over a friendship, that’s a signal to that person that you are not committed. Friendships aren’t static. They require work from both people.
I hope you guys give this an article a read and that we are all better friends because of it. Let me know what you think!