Friendships are ongoing projects that you keep working on day in and day out. Some have lasted you through the years and some are brand new. Whatever the case, we are all in agreement that as time passes, life complicates everything — especially friendships. You find yourself working harder to maintain a relationship due to living in different cities or having drastically different careers. No matter how hard you try, it can be tough to bridge the gaps.
As I've gotten older, I've noticed that I've been having a harder time maintaining my friendships. Some fizzled out naturally and some have become strained due to my lack of attentiveness. I've quickly tried to remedy this and have seen some serious results. Turns out that being a supportive friend in your late 20s is not that hard — you just have to want to make a change. And I did. Because I don't want to end up fabulously living a life of amazingness without my friends by my side.
If you find yourself struggling to keep up with the friendships in your life, this article is for you. These are some of the steps I've committed to, and they have paid off. Sure, they seem a little obvious at times, but you will find that even obvious things are hard to do when you have bills and a job to worry about. Your first step should be realizing that you need to step up more. The amount of effort you put into anything will yield a healthy friendship in time. Until then, try your best to follow these steps and hopefully become a more supportive friend in your 20s.
Make Time For Your Friends
This means you need to consciously make room in your day for your friends. Make Skype dates, phone calls. Texting is awesome, but you need some face-to-face with your best friend for them to know that you have their backs no matter what. Support is not just showing up — support is showing up when they didn't even know they needed you.
Write Down Important Things
If your friend mentions something big is coming up during your conversations, write it down. Keep it logged so that you can remember to give them a call or send them some flowers. Little things like that can make someone's day.
Listen, Listen, And Listen Some More
Become the best listener ever. If you have neglected your friends, the way back into their lives is to absorb all the info you missed. Take this time to catch up with your friends thoughts, ideas and live events. I always feel very supported when a friend just lets me vent to them for a while.
Be There When They Really Need You
That means taking everything you have been doing and applying it in real life. Job interview went sour? Your friend broke up with their significant other? Parents fighting? Whatever the cause, you should be there for them in their time of need. That also means being there to celebrate their success.
Don't Cancel Plans Last Minute, Even When You Just Want To Sleep
Cardinal rule of being a supportive friend is not being a flake. It might seem like a casual hangout to you, but your friend might have something important to talk about and baling on them is not cool. Come. Through.
Push Them To Be Their Best
You want to be the one pushing your friends to be the best version of them they can be. Don't push too hard — they have enough pressure on them as it is — but do your job. If you see your friend slacking or feeling lost, have a conversation. Sometimes support means tough love.
Celebrate Their Accomplishments
Your life can be in shambles, but you still need to celebrate your friend's happiness. That doesn't mean neglecting your own, but it does mean that you have to find a part of yourself that is in no way jealous of your friend's success.
Back Them Up
Sometimes your friends are wrong. Like — yelling at a bouncer at 4 a.m. wrong. But you need to back them up (or at the very least, not give them crap for it). That's support.
Remind Each Other How Valuable The Friendship Is
Little nice surprises and "this made me think of you" gifts will make your friend's whole week. Once in a while. We aren't made of money (yet).
Help Them Move
The first cardinal rule of supporting your friend is helping them move. You know why? Because you can only survive that with a true friend.
Support Their Budding Relationships
This one is a tough one. Supporting a relationship usually means having your friendship suffer. Being a true supportive friend in your 20s means letting your friend be in a relationship. Listen to the problems, help fix them, and watch as your friendship blossoms — yes, even if they've got a new main squeeze in their life. Because no matter how long that squeeze lasts, your friendship is going to last forever.
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