Advice On Nurturing Long Term Friendships

Advice on nurturing long-term friendships, it is both easy and essential.

Sometimes you don't realize you're taking your friends for granted until they you notice that they've stopped calling you. If you're busy launching or developing a career, or have recently started a new relationship, chances are you're neglecting your oldest friends. After all, they're reliable and have always been there when you needed them. They don't need to be told that they're still needed, right? Wrong!

Make contact

Even if you're rushing to make a deadline at work, or about to run out and buy a last-minute outfit, stop for a minute. How long would it take to pick up the phone and tell your good friend that you're thinking about her? Less than five minutes. Even less if you only make contact with her machine. If the real person DOES pick up, tell them you're about to walk out the door, but you felt it was important to just let them know that they're still a key person in your life.

This simple, sincere gesture means much more than a hundred promises to get together for lunches which never materialize. It really is a case of tomorrow never comes with these phantom arrangements. Although you both really mean it when you say "I'll call you next week and we'll get together", next week always turns out to be busier than this week. Nine times out of ten, your friendly lunch is moved straight to the bottom of your list of priorities.

If you're feeling irritable and overworked on a dreary Monday afternoon, you can lift your own mood and that of a friend, by taking 3 minutes to send an email to say hello. Making contact electronically still counts as a gesture of friendship, and represents an even quicker and easier way to remind this person that she's special.

Or while you're sitting in front of the TV, staring at the screen and waiting for your energy levels to return to normal, jot off a quick note - it need be no more than a few lines long - and put it in your bag to post the next day. Any of these methods has the same effect: it reminds an important person that you're glad they're around.

Throw a little party

Maybe you have several close friends who you haven't spent quality time with in ages. If they're part of the same social circle, or at least like each other, consider throwing a mini-party. Make some calls and invite them all to your place to catch up on the last few weeks' news. A couple of pitchers of margheritas, and some serious bonding will start to happen. The beauty of this plan is that you get to see everyone you've been missing in the one evening, without having to put your life on hold.

If your friends are from different social circles, or perhaps don't all get along, it might be wiser to get out your diary and arrange some lunch dates with them, either individually or in smaller groups or two and three. Even though it seems inconvenient to go out for lunch if you're swamped at work, you'll find that you'll have a spring in your step as you head back to the office after laughing non-stop with a friend who's a lot of fun. Seeing good friends is therapeutic and cannot fail to lift your spirits and remind you of the real priorities in your life.

Send a gift

If you really can't get away from the office for a face-to-face meeting, but you want to make a gesture of friendship before yet another 3 months go by, send your friend a little gift. Take an extra 15 minutes at lunch, and browse in some gift shops. Or make a quick detour while you're running an errand for work. Keep your eyes open and be ready to recognize the perfect little trinket which will let your friend know you're thinking of her.

There is, of course, one affectionate gesture which works a treat for family members, lovers and friends alike - a stunning bouqet of flowers. Order a bunch over the phone, choosing either a theme of selected blooms in her favourite colour, or a dozen of the flowers you know she never buys for herself. Dictate a personal message for the card to the florist, and you have a guaranteed way to rescue even the most neglected friendship. Flowers arriving out of the blue, especially if it's no-one's birthday, is one of the nicest ways to lift anyone's day.

Each of these techniques demonstrates that it doesn't take much effort to nurture your long-term friendships. Even if you've never been so busy, or you've moved far away from your friends, it only takes a minute to reach out and remind them of why your friendship lasted this long in the first place.

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