10 Habits That Build Stronger Friendships

17 Comments
Friendships via New Jersey Family

So how do we build stronger friendships? Friends are one of the most important sources of moral and emotional support and there are a few habits that build stronger friendships. It all comes down to many factors but all can be summarized by a simple common sense idea: Putting in the effort makes friendships stronger. Sometimes, we tend to take our friends for granted because we know that they’re always going to be there. Well from experience, this is wrong! Our friends will not always be there for us especially if we ignore them or we do not make the effort to connect with them.

Credit: featured photo from New Jersey Family

We often hear people refer to friendships with the “quality over quantity” speech and I couldn’t agree more. We tend to have a bias towards meeting and spending more time with new “friends” than spending time with our “solid” friends. Overtime, if we succumb to this habit, we might lose a few good friends down the road. I don’t know about you but I would rather keep my good old solid friends (those who I have a deep connection with) than gain a million who in the end do not understand who I am.

Build stronger friendships by employing these 10 habits

Sure, I’m only in my mid-twenties but I am somewhat proud of keeping the same friends for more than ten years. I have moved to Oregon and came back to Southern California; I have seen some of my friends go to the U.S. Army, go to college, moved out-of-state; I have friends who are now occupied by their jobs and careers. In the end, I am glad that we still share the same kind of connection that I would not trade for anything in the world.

I guess the reasons for that is I try put in the effort. Once they see you making the effort, it is more likely that they will reciprocate. I hope that adapting the items on this list into habits will help you forge better and stronger friendships! Here are some practices to make your friendship stronger, too (no item on this list is more important than the others):

#1 Calling your friends instead of using social media

In the age of social and electronic media, we seem to have forgotten about the call functionality of our smartphones. Yes, these phones can make calls! I prefer to call friends rather than text or “hit them up” on Facebook. It is just different when you hear the other person’s voice and you get to share a laugh or two.

I try to call a few friends once a week even when I’m very busy. A quick walk or drive to the grocery store is enough time for a (handsfree) call. I do this just to say hi and see how they are doing.

So I suggest calling instead of always texting or using social media. If they don’t pick up, you can expect a callback or you can leave a quick text saying that you’ll try to reach them again at a specific time.

#2 Inviting them to join you for lunch or coffee

Build stronger friendships by having lunch with friends or sharing oysters and shrimp cocktails with friends

Sharing oysters and shrimp cocktails with friends.

There are times when you might have some free time. Why not step out of the house to meet with friends. You can either do this spontaneously (although your friends might be busy at work or other commitments) or you can set a date with them.

#3 Be an appointment machine

Just as you would have an appointment for a meeting or a consultation with your tax preparer or dentist, you can also make an appointment with your friend. You can call this a date!

It is better to set a date and time than calling your friends spontaneously only to get a “No I’m sorry. I’m quite busy today.” This is not their fault but setting a date lets your friends rearrange a few things in their calendar. This also helps you and your friend to focus on your time together since this meeting is not cutting into “work time.”

#4 Initiating or joining activities with friends

Whether it’s going to the gym, for a walk, playing basketball or even watching a baseball game together–hangouts are better when there’s an activity. By sharing a common goal (to lose weight, to get active, to enjoy the outdoors) you can develop deeper connections with friends. During these activities, you never know what you’re going to learn about your friend.

Build stronger friendships by joining or inviting friends to activities like watching a baseball game

Think of everything you see, smell, hear, and touch as triggers for a segue. Your friend might be reminded of an event in life just by seeing a pile of rocks. Then you get to learn more about them!

#5 Knowing your friends’ birthdays

I am inclined to know about my friends’ birthdays because I like to appreciate them on their special day. On their birthdays, I always call. If I have a few extra bucks to spare, I try to buy them a gift or at least buy them coffee.

I know that I love it when someone at least calls me and says, “I don’t know what you’ve got planned today but if you want to meet up tomorrow for coffee, that would be great since it’s your birthday.” I might say yes or no but the thought is just so sweet. Try it with your friends and I know they will appreciate you!

#6 Tell them something they would be interested to hear

As we develop friendships, we tend to find out a few things about our friends. For example, my best friend is a dancer and is really involved in the dance community. If I ever find out something about a “dance festival” or a newsworthy article about dance–I will send it to him.

Calling your friends to share the news is even better. Sharing something that interests them makes them appreciate the fact that you’re thinking of them.

#7 Supporting their passion(s)

I’m sure you’ve had friends that invite you to come to their “booth” at the local farmers market; or a friend that invites you to their club volleyball game. Every now and then and if you’re available, support them at these events! They will truly appreciate it. I know I will. The more you support your friend, the more you build connection and trust. Build stronger friendships by sharing and/or supporting passions!

#8 Listening to their problems and giving thoughtful feedback

This might be one of the most important habits to adapt. This helps to build stronger friendships! When a friend calls you (even if this friend doesn’t call you very much) and tells you about a problem they’re having, listen to them. They are going through something and the reason they called you might be because they truly want your advice and that they trust you.

Listen sincerely and when they ask for your feedback, give them a very thoughtful advice. Think about your past experiences or the experiences of others. Avoid lecturing them but instead be a shoulder to lean on.

#9 Inviting them over to your place

I believe that to be invited into someone’s home is a privilege, something not to be taken for granted. I believe that we must respect their space and follow their rules. If you ever get invited to a friend’s house even if it “happens all the time,” think of it as an honor. They invite you because they trust you, they like you, and they love you.

After all, would you invite a stranger to your house? We tend to invite the people we love.

So this means, if you want your friendships to grow stronger, try inviting your friend over for dinner or a party. This is great for those who you’ve just met and want to get closer to. It also shows that you are putting in the effort!

#10 Helping your friends!

In a guest post on Living Well Spending Less, Melanie Shankle of The Big Mama Blog said that one great quality of a best friend is saying “yes” to someone who asks for a favor before you even know what the request really is. Although, it all depends on the relationship. If you are trying to build a stronger friendship with someone, maybe you can start by helping them more!

If your friends are in trouble in some way, be available and help them. Sometimes when we do not see any rewards for helping someone and we tend to make excuses about how we can’t help them. It might be a good thing to be in the habit of expecting nothing in return.

I don’t know if you believe in “karma” but helping others might lead to them helping you in the future as well. Also, this act of kindness may possibly strengthen the bond between you and your friend. I say “possibly” because there is no way of knowing whether the friendship will be stronger or not; but a part of me thinks that helping does a great deal to make a friendship blossom.

Recap: You can build stronger friendships by

#1 Call your friends
#2 Invite them for coffee or lunch
#3 Be an appointment machine; set dates
#4 Do activities with friends
#5 Know your friends’ birthdays
#6 Share something they’re interested in
#7 Support their passion(s)
#8 Listen to their problems and give thoughtful feedback
#9 Invite them over
#10 Help your friends!

I’m sure there are more practices and habits that build stronger friendships but these 10 practices and habits are what works for me and I hope that the list will be useful to you.

Do you have any tips on how to build stronger friendships? Let me know by leaving a comment below; I’d love to hear it!

17 Comments
  • Jay

    Reply

    Nothing beats a good catch up with an old friend over coffee or lunch.
    Social Media shouldn’t be used to replace interactions with friends, but instead to improve them by keeping in contact while traveling.
    As an expat, living in USA, I know social media really helps me to keep in contact with friends & family back home.

    Jay from http://EclecticElite.com

    • Ron

      Hello Jay! Yes, I definitely agree that social media is a great tool to improve communications especially if you are out of the country since calling might be more expensive and time zones differ for those skype calls. Thanks for dropping by!

  • Anna nuttall

    Reply

    I like to show this post to a ‘friend’ and shove it down her throat. Ahem. Very nice tips and sorry if this is a double post. xx

  • Anna nuttall

    Reply

    I would like to show this post to a ‘friend’ and shove down her throat. Ahem Very nice tips and It get harder as you get older to build friendship. xx

    • Ron

      LOL! Your comment just made us laugh and smile. I agree, it only gets harder as we grow older! Thanks for dropping by, Anna and I hope you’re well 🙂

  • Jasmin N

    Reply

    These are all so true and important when it comes to maintaining a new relationships or friendships 🙂 Great post!

    ♥: Jasmin N
    Little Things With Jassy
    Bloglovin’

    • Ron

      Thanks Jasmin! I hope you’re well 🙂

  • ree

    Reply

    Such good tips! I have to admit that sometimes I’m a bit slack at keeping in touch with my friends. I have one friend who is the appointment machine though which I live her for! Ree Love30

    • Ron

      Hi Ree! We can all be slackers every now and then. Sometimes, we’re just too busy or simply not in the mood. But that’s okay as long as we intend to reach out to our friends every now and then. It’s awesome that you have a friend who is an appointment machine! Meeting with people on a “set time” helps eliminate the mindset of “I have to be somewhere else or I have things to do.” Thanks for dropping by and I hope you’re well!

  • Marie

    Reply

    Such a great post! These are pretty helpful tips that I’m going to use as well 🙂

    -Marie
    http://www.thatdarlinmarie.com

    • Ron

      Thanks, Marie! I hope you’re well and I also hope you get to spend more time with your friends 🙂

  • Helena

    Reply

    Such a great and much needed post! Made me realize that I need to catch up with my friends and following your tips, I’m sure it won’t be too difficult.
    We all need to get out of our shell – introverts and extroverts alike!
    I’m also starting uni this fall and with your tips, making new friends won’t feel as threatening. Thank you for this post!
    Besides all that, I hope you have a lovely day!

    • Ron

      Hi Helena!

      We sure need to put a little more effort into our friendships, especially if you have awesome friends! I wish you the best of luck at university and hope you make friends that you keep for a lifetime. I’ve been fortunate enough to have kept some friends I’ve known for almost 15 years. I agree with “getting out of our shell!”

      I hope you have a lovely day as well and thanks for dropping by!

  • Sarah

    Reply

    These are some great tips. It has made me realise I should set up a few coffee(tea)-dates with some people this summer. Usually I see them on a regular basis, but the last few weeks I’ve been so busy that I haven’t set off enough time for hanging out 🙁

    • Ron

      Hi Sarah,

      It’s always alright if you’re busy; I’m sure your friends understand. But if you get the chance try to catch up with them 🙂 Sometimes when we’re so busy, we need a little break. I’m sure you will have a great time once you set up some coffee/tea dates with friends! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you’re well!

  • Leta

    Reply

    These are amazing tips, actually! Love all the suggestions. I actually have a pretty strong friendship and I feel like we don’t have to see each other every week to stay close and that’s great. But I do agree that making dates, lunch or coffee meetings is important 🙂

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

    • Ron

      Hi Leta,

      It’s great that you have great relationships with your friends! I believe in putting in a little bit of effort here and there to make sure that friendships develop 🙂 And yes, it’s always nice to have lunch or coffee with some friends isn’t it?

      Thanks for dropping by, Leta. I hope you’re well!

Leave a Comment to Marie Cancel Comment