Did you know that September is International Women’s Friendship Month? For some women, it can be challenging to maintain friendships, especially after taking on responsibilities like growing in a career, starting a business, getting married, or having children.
Studies have shown that women are more inclined to turn to friends and value their friendships as a place where they can be vulnerable. Socially, women are taught to share more about their emotions and to do this with other women. But what happens when life gets a little too busy to make time to turn to friends?
Here are some ways to maintain friendships. While this blog is focused around “International Women’s Friendship Month,” this can be applied to all types of friendships.”
How to maintain friendships:
You may be thinking that you already know how important your friends are, but perhaps are missing them, because you have found yourself to be really busy. I get it!
And here are some quick ways to touch base with your friends.
- Send them some snail mail. I had a friend during the pandemic that would send me handwritten letters. It was actually really nice to take some time to write something back over just responding to a picture on social media.
- Say yes to spending time with your friends. Over this past year I have really turned into a homebody and it can be a little hard to muster up some energy to go out on an evening or weekend. Try doing an activity that you both will enjoy or perhaps is new for you and your friend(s).
- Put your friend’s birthday in your calendar. Over the years I have become really lazy with this one. I often rely on social media to remind me of someone’s birthday and unfortunately, have missed some birthdays. This year, I made a small change to put it in my calendar. Regardless of how you keep track of events or how you celebrate others, this can definitely help in maintaining your friendships.
- Be interested in what is going on in your friend’s life. I know, such an odd tip, but this can be a way that you can share with your friends that you care about them. Don’t forget to ask follow up questions.
Ask how they are doing, not just what they are doing. It’s easy to ask others how they are doing and to simply just accept a “I’m good, thanks” reply. This is an acceptable response when it comes to being polite to the stranger you are passing by in an elevator, but with friends, it’s okay to ask about emotions and how someone may be holding up.
When friendships are no longer helpful:
Not all relationships are considered healthy relationships. There are relationships that can be toxic and it’s important to be able to identify some of these toxic relationship behaviors.
Making fun of you or insulting you. This goes far beyond the occasional joke or fun teasing and leads to actually feeling hurt or embarrassed.
Everything is about them. An example of this is that you turn to your friend because you are having a bad day, and their first response is how bad their day is and focus on themselves.
You feel drained around them.
They peer pressure you to do things you do not want to do.
If you have ever noticed some of these red flags in your relationship, your options are to 1) address it with your friend, 2) create stronger boundaries, or 3) end the relationship.
Share any tips that you have on how you maintain friendships!
By Priscilla Rodriguez, M.S., LMFT, Owner of Modern Wellness Counseling
Priscilla specializes in working with clients to overcome feelings of anxiety and worry by teaching them effective coping skills. Priscilla utilizes research-based techniques to help couples and individuals maintain healthy and happy relationships. Learn more on how you can enhance your relationship today.