But sometimes life can get in the way of that friendship. Have you ever been on that lunch catch up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, and you feel like you know nothing about them? You used to be so close, chat every day – and now you both work, have things on most nights and your relationship is basically an annual birthday message on Facebook.
There’s no time like the present to change all of that and start valuing the people around you a bit more. So stop just being an Instagram follower and start being the amazingly brilliant friend you know you can be. Here’s how.
#1 Actually Mean It When You Ask Them How They Are
Ever had this type of conversation?
You: Hey! It’s been too long!
Them: I know! How have you been?
You: Pretty good! Just been working, how about you?
Them: Yeah been well, work is pretty busy at the moment!
You: For sure, it’s so full on for me, too.
It’s rehearsed, plain and you barely know anything about how they actually are. It can be hard to know how to dive in a bit deeper to find out how they really are.
Check these cheats out for some ideas.
1) Ask ‘open’ questions. An open question is one where they can’t give you the cliché ‘yep/no’ or ‘good/bad’ response. E.g: Tell me about what’s happening at work for you. What is the best thing that’s happening in your sporting/social/family life at the moment? What places in the world do you want to visit? What do you do when things get hard with your work/family/partner? How long has this been happening for?
2) Really listen. If you’re curious and ask follow up questions to get a better understanding you’ll be surprised what you’ll find out. Revert to tip 1 – always follow up with more open questions.
#2 Find Mutual Loves You Can Bond Over
You probably have so much more in common with your friends than you realise. And sometimes it’s little mutual things that mean the most.
Take this little hidden gem for example. One friend of mine has really similar music tastes to myself, so we created a collaborative online playlist where we could both add in a few new songs every week that we liked. Then every time we see each other, we almost always talk about the new songs in that list, and the cheesy grins come out when we bond over a particular track.
Apply that same logic to other areas, think sport, fashion, TV and film, books, travel – all fab little areas for you to mutually love.
#4 Book it in
We mentioned before how life can get busy and time can run away from us. So put a time in each of your calendars every month so you both know that a catch-up is approaching. Maybe try a new spot for dinner, place to go for a run, a round of golf, a new café for a coffee, a gig, or sport to watch. If it’s doing something you both enjoy it’ll be much easier to keep up.
And make sure you follow step five when doing this.
#5 Be A Good Rain-Checker
Ultimately, we are all busy – there will be plenty of times when you just need to reschedule with your friends. But don’t be that person who just waits until someone else follows up on that cancelled night out. Being a good rain-checker means you just stay in touch with your mate/s in the weeks after cancelling – especially if you’re the one who had to reschedule in the first place.