In honor of International Day of Friendship, today’s post is all about, you guessed it….friendship! Here at Health Coach Institute, we think friendship is pretty darned important—and not just because our school was founded on it. (In case you didn’t know, our founders Stacey Morgenstern and Carey Peters are friends who met while training to become Health Coaches and decided to create their own coaching school together).
As social beings, we humans are wired for a connection. Here are 6 important reasons we need friends in our life:
- Friends are good for our health! According to this New York Times article, having friends can help you “fight illness and depression, speed recovery, slow aging and prolong life.” They make us feel happier and less alone in the world—like we’ve got someone in our corner.
- Friends offer support and encouragement. Friends offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, share in our celebrations, and make the tough times a lot lighter.
- Friends teach us important skills. Our relationships with our friends help us develop a wealth of life skills like loyalty, respect, openness, and good communication.
- Friends can make us better people. Having friends who are a positive influence can actually motivate you to make favorable strides in your own life. Friends can encourage you to think bigger, stretch yourself, and inspire you to reach your goals.
- Friends can keep you accountable. Having people in your life you can check in with when you want to make progress in your life can encourage you to follow through with your goals.
- Friends make life more enjoyable. We think Tennessee Williams said it pretty well when he said, “Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose.” Quite simply, friends make life more vibrant and exciting—they help us live our better-than-ever lives! (And you know we’re ALL about that at HCI!)
So now that we’ve made the case for why those friendships of yours are so important, let’s talk about how to keep ‘em strong…because let’s face it: in this fast-paced, online world we’re living in, it can be hard to tend to our friendships the way we want and need to!
It all comes down to habits. Healthy habits are the foundation upon which healthy lives are created. So without further ado, let’s look at 8 habits you can embrace to help your friendships thrive. (Be sure to scroll all the way to the end of this post for a FREE printable we created in honor of Friendship Day designed to help you celebrate and cultivate the special friendships in your life!)
8 Habits To Keep Your Friendships Strong
- Touch base weekly. Even if it’s a simple text conversation, make a point to reach out to your closest friends once a week to let them know you’re thinking of them and find out how they’re doing. A simple “How’s your week going?” can go a long way toward making someone feel thought of and appreciated.
- Schedule regular hangouts. The best way to make things happen is to plan for them, so we recommend planning your next few get-togethers in advance. Compare calendars and try to nail down your next three to four get-togethers (or more, if you’re feeling super motivated!). You don’t need to know what you’ll be doing, but getting it on the calendar will ensure you’ve booked the time. If your friend lives out of state, this still applies! Schedule some Facetime dates to have a virtual coffee or happy hour together.
- Experience something new together. Been dying to visit that new museum in town, see that band live, or join a book club? Ask your friend to do it with you! If you can’t do it in person, find a virtual experience you can do together (training to become a Health Coach, perhaps? 😉 and then compare notes.
- Embrace their interests. Does your friend love horror movies? Relish a sumptuous meal? Harbor a seahorse obsession? Plan an outing or send them a gift that shows them you know them and see them.
- Be vulnerable. Is there something you’ve been struggling with? A challenge you’re not sure how to tackle? Opening up to your friends about your personal challenges and struggles can deepen your friendship, help you work through problems you’re facing, establish trust, and offer a different perspective on whatever issue you’re faced with. So go ahead and let your friend see the perfect imperfectness that is YOU!
- Do something “just because.” Commemorating birthdays is great and something you should definitely do, but doing something special for a friend on an average day is an unexpected surprise your friend will remember forever. How about sending a care package with your friend’s favorite things in it? It doesn’t have to be anything crazy expensive for it to mean a lot. You could go old school and make a mix of their favorite music and pick up a few odds and ends from super affordable stores like T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, or Dollar Tree, and create a meaningful package of goodies on the cheap that’s sure to put a big ole smile on your friend’s face.
- Tackle a health challenge together. If you and your friend have similar health goals, buddy up and tackle them together. If you both want to work on your mindfulness, for instance, you might commit to a 30-day meditation series. If you want to cleanse your body and tone up, consider doing a detox or workout challenge together. Having an accountability partner will make the process a lot more fun while giving you the motivation you need to see it through to the end.
- Send snail mail. Who doesn’t love getting mail? No one. The answer is no one. Pick up a card or grab a sheet of notebook paper and let your friend know how much they mean to you and why you’re grateful for their friendship. Bonus points if you share some of your favorite memories and hopes for the future!
And there you have it! Eight habits to create rock-solid friendships. Did we miss anything? Comment below to let us know what habits YOU employ to keep your friendships strong.
And now for that download we mentioned! Click the button below to grab your FREE copy of our Friendships to Celebrate & Cultivate printable. (Then get out there and show your friends some love…it IS Friendship Day after all!)