Monday, August 20, 2012

Best Friends Forever–3 Tips for Lasting Friendships

Adorable eye chart art from Eyecharts by Gisele!

One of my dearest, best friends, Chris had his birthday this past week and while scheming away to make a visit with a small surprise, I realized we’d been friends for seventeen years. Seventeen! I’m 24 and I’ve known Chris for over half of my life. I’m extremely lucky to have one great best friend of seventeen years but what’s even more amazing is he isn’t the only one! I have a few best friends, and by a few I mean a lot. Best doesn’t mean there is only one! I have some very close friends from the MMA gym, from high school (I can’t count them on both hands!), my friend Tessa, and a few more. Husband, you are in a category on your own!

I’m  not attached to the hip to and call and text all the time like we did in high school because let’s be honest – adult life is busy! There’s careers, kids, significant others, some college etc! And while I still have many of the friends I had in high school, our friendships, like ourselves have grown and matured and changed. These are people I can truly rely on no matter what, people I trust with nearly everything. They’re unjudging but honest, supportive, fun, and no matter where life takes us – consistent and there.
We all have very different personalities, and different interests but we’re all always there for each other. Interests in my group of friends range from jiu-jitsu, athletics and lifting, political science, horror movie critic, mountain biking and snowboarding after working all day at the bank, farming, baking, working with youth groups, knitting, cat lady-ing and more!
Chris’s birthday provoked the idea of writing some tips on maintaining friendships especially as busy adults.

1. Social Networking – How to use and not use it.

With Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and so forth – seeing every little chosen detail of your friends’ lives are as easy as a glance at your phone. I don’t have to ask my gym friends how their day went when I see them – because I can see what they ate, what they’re thinking and what their dog did with a click! It’s a useful tool to know whats going on in people’s lives when you’re not able to keep in touch with them frequently or they live far away but it also reduces certain events to a 5 second scan over a page.


>>Use it to remember dates/birthdays

>>Share links, ideas!

>>Gather little facts! Use them!
Ex: My friend Shanley saw my pictures of my two grey kitties.
She later sent me a cute card from England with a grey cat on it and a handwritten note telling me about her adventures, and checked up to see how I was! See your friend post about a bad day? Swing by and visit them! That “Ugh I’m craving funnel cakes!” post? Find your closest fair and drop some off ;]! I did something similar for my friend Tessa with some local produce!
>>Plan events (we’ll get to this part in a bit!), share pictures from get togethers!


>> DON'T Let it make important events less important!
See that little letter up there? When I saw it was Chris’s birthday – I automatically went to go post a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!” on his page. But that’s where this all began – we’ve been friends for so long and I was going to type out a birthday wish on his facebook page?! Instead, I did a little DIY birthday card, stained and burned the edges of some bristol board paper, tried to make my prettiest Hogwarts “H” and melted wax on the envelope. I tied it to a single white balloon with a gift card, drew an owl on it and dropped my Hedwig and his “birthday owl” at his office!
This applies to all major life events – weddings, funerals, etc. Make a phone call, mail flowers, make a visit. DON’T make a quick facebook post. It’s not as meaningful, and they’ll appreciate being contacted in person!

>>DON'T Use it to converse via Facebook chat or tweets! Try a quick phone call, hearing someone’s voice is much nicer!

2. Embrace old memories – but create new ones!

I’ve run into instances where I’ve met up with an old friend I haven’t seen in awhile and all we talked about were old memories as kids which is awesome! It’s great reminiscing over them! Best friends can run into moments where you run out of things to talk about (remember – social networking and knowing every detail of someone’s day? This falls under here too!) 

Make new memories to talk about! Go somewhere, and do something! 

A few of us crammed into two cars and made a drive down to Florida. We had 13 people in our resort room! My two friends Chris and Anthony are notorious road trippers and will scoop a few of us up and sweep us away to wherever they end up – this has included a 3 hour drive for a hot dog in Toledo, a picture in front of the White House in D.C, or weekend camping on the lake. Be tourists in your own city, check out places you haven’t been to before etc! We’ve gone to an old general store and had a smorgasbord of novelty foods in the car ride back, four-wheeling for hours trying to find one silly old path, and so much more! But every person is unique and every relationship with their friends is unique so make NEW memories that are unique to your friends! Try something new! Try revisiting a place! It makes for great conversations and treasurable memories.

3. Plan Get Togethers

Back to being a busy adult. With families, careers, and college it can be hard to see each other as much as we’d like. I’m a terrible planner, I’m lucky I have Joni and Jeanette from the Dames Who Dish blog because the love planning! Whether its with one person or 20 – make a Facebook event, message or phone call when you are both in the same area to meet up!

>>With one person or smaller groups: It’s easier to coordinate meeting up. Try anything from a quick lunch, a drink or a little day trip to catch up in person. 

>>Larger groups: With friends studying abroad or moving away the thing that’s worked the best is having said person that’s away let everyone know when they’re coming home, and if they’d like to do something. Give dates that are available and see who can make it! This has worked out extremely well, and we often have dinner meet ups once a month with a group of 10 people or more! Compromise on the location if needed – we’ll occasionally take a trip up to Cleveland to include our friends living there to save them a trip and give us a chance to try new places.

>>HOLIDAYS! Most people are home on the holidays so it’s an ideal time to see each other. Try having your own friend version of holidays! We just started a new tradition of having a friends-only Thanksgiving dinner. We’ve also done Christmas dinners and various picnics separate from the ones with our families. Who doesn’t like getting the chance to eat tons and have lots of laughs over a huge dinner?!

I hope some of these gave you some ideas! <3



Tessa Petrocco said...

Love you, Chels! xo

Chelsea said...

Love you too Tessa!!

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