Friendships are important, and whether you have one really good friend or a dozen people you consider to be your friends it still takes effort to keep friendships strong.
I have five super duper close friends (like we’ve all seen each other naked at some point level of close haha), a few other close friends, and then a bunch of people I’d also consider to be my friends but in a more casual way. Like a drinking buddies way, or a mutual friends way.
It does take a lot to maintain so many relationships, but with all of those people we’ve gone through times where we’ve drifted apart for a bit, just to come back together again. The friendships have always been strong, it’s just the ebbs and flows of life.
There are a couple of things I actively try to do to make sure my friendships stay strong. It’s so easy to drift apart from people forever, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
Make an effort every now and then
As grown ups we’re all busy people. Gone are the days when we could all hang out after school and every weekend. It’s important to respect that people have their own stuff going on, and so do you. However it’s also important to make an effort every now and then. I don’t mean going to EVERY event that pops up on Facebook, but make time to go to a few social gatherings over the year, just showing your face can make all the difference.
Even if you can’t go to the big events, still be sure to drop your friends a message. Keep in touch. If social gatherings are overwhelming or always fall when you can’t make it, try and arrange a meet up for a coffee or lunch. Or invite them over for a natter! There are so many ways to make a bit of effort with people, and it is super important to keep friendships strong.
Oh, and no more of this “if they don’t make an effort with you don’t make an effort with them” bollocks. If we all lived that way no one would have any friends. People have stuff going on, sometimes you have to reach out and try to bridge that gap.
Pick your battles
I live with three of my best friends, and I am a very fussy person when it comes to being clean and tidy. You can blame my mother for that. Living in a shared house has really taught me a lot about picking battles. Most things just aren’t more important than my friendship with these people.
It’s a good idea to take a step back and decide how much you really care about the annoying thing. My housemates not always wiping the sides down can slide. Of course that doesn’t mean letting people walk all over you. Being able to raise a problem you have is also an important part of friendship. Once you open up a dialogue, you might find out that the problem wasn’t even about you in the first place – people get tetchier when they’re stressed out, and usually there’s more going on than meets the eye. If this is the case, open your ears and be a listener.
Even within tight knit groups of friends people still clash sometimes. Nobody’s perfect, and the people you’re close to will annoy you, and you will annoy them. Accepting this is also important – an argument doesn’t have to be the end of your friendship. Heck, I would not have the same friends I had when I was 12 if we let an argument end our friendship!
A bit of a disclaimer though, even though this post is about keeping friendships strong, remember IT IS OKAY to distance yourself from people if they’re impacting your life or your mental health negatively. You can choose your friends, so don’t surround yourself with people who are bad for you.