5 ways to show your friends extra love in Georgia
February is a big month for love. While Valentine’s Day tends to put romantic love in the spotlight, it’s also a great opportunity to honor different kinds of relationships. Friendships in particular are well worth celebrating, since they play such a big part in your happiness and well-being.
How friendship is good for you
Jennifer Whaley, MD, a psychiatrist of The Southeast Permanente Medical Group, encourages you to use this month to consider 5 ways to strengthen your friendships.
“As human beings, we’re social creatures,” says Whaley. “It’s how we’re made — we’re biologically programmed to be in social groups — because relationships are fundamental to the human experience.”
5 ways to strengthen your friendships
If you don’t already, try these 5 tips when reaching out or spending time with the people you care about.
1. Be a good listener.
More often than not, simply feeling heard can make a big difference to a person. When spending time with your friends, be present as they speak. Instead of thinking about how you’ll respond, focus on what they’re saying and try to understand where they’re coming from.
2. Show your appreciation.
“We often take for granted those people who have always been there,” says Whaley, “but these relationships demand maintenance like any relationship — and that will help these relationships be the best that they can be.”
There are many things you can do to show your friend your gratitude and care. It can be as simple as texting to check in, taking a moment to thank them for their support, or gifting a small token of appreciation, like a cup of coffee or a book they might enjoy.
3. Create traditions just for the two of you.
Keep your relationship meaningful by making traditions to celebrate and cement your bond. Have regular brunch dates, go to the movies together, or even vacation together. Set up fixed dates (weekly or monthly) to make sure you can stay consistently available for each other, even when life gets busy.
4. Make time.
“My patients often say they don’t have time to meet with friends,” says Whaley, “but I have to remind them that where we spend our time shows our values — and friends deserve our time.”
Aside from creating the traditions above, check in regularly with the people close to you via email, text, or phone call. Reserve a small chunk of hang-out time each week so you’ll be available for friends who’d love to see you.
5. Remember to have fun.
Not every conversation needs to be serious — a little silliness is good for the soul. Make time for lighthearted activities, be open to jokes, and find ways to indulge your inner children together. Share joy, laugh hard, and you’ll have a friendship that’ll last a lifetime.
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