Maybe technology is to blame. Some people think that being a good friend simply means sending Snapchats daily or tagging someone in a meme on Facebook rather than having a conversation. I believe the keys to a good friendship are quite simple: have meaningful conversations, make an effort to stay in touch, and be thoughtful.
An article in the September 2018 issue of The Atlantic called “Make Old Friends: How to build lasting ties” confirms my belief that friendship is about meaningful conversations. Author Ben Healy says, “A recent study out of the University of Kansas found that it takes about 50 hours of socializing to go from acquaintance to casual friend, an additional 40 hours to become a ‘real’ friend, and a total of 200 hours to become a close friend.” The more time you spend talking to and getting to know someone, the more likely you will become close. Once you develop a close relationship with someone, the next step is to make an effort to stay in touch.
It’s easy to get caught up in our own busy lives, but it’s also easy to send a quick message to a friend to let them know that you’re thinking of them. Sometimes the conversation may be short, but it is better to have had a short exchange than none at all. This may sound a little bit strange, but every so often I scroll through my contacts in my phone to make sure that I am doing a good job of staying in touch with my friends. If I haven’t talked to someone in a while, I send them a text. I want the people I care about to always know that I care about them.
When we’re busy juggling everything happening in our own lives, we sometimes forget the things happening in our friends’ lives. To be a truly exceptional friend, be thoughtful. The most thoughtful person I have ever met in my entire life is my friend, Kristin. I met Kristin at New Teacher Orientation just over two years ago and although she is eleven years older than me, she is one of my closest friends. Kristin is a great listener and remembers the small things you tell her. If I told her today that I was doing something really exciting three weeks from now, I’m sure I would wake up that day to a text from her. Kristin also writes handwritten thank you notes to express her gratitude for helping her out or simply being a friend. Kristin reminds me that it’s the little things that mean so much and that it is not difficult to be a good friend.
If you’re looking for new friends, don’t be afraid to reach out to others! A few months ago, I asked my friend, Tara, how our friendship started. At this point, we had become quite close as a result of going for walks together weekly after school. Tara recalled that I stopped her in the hallway at work and asked her to have lunch together sometime since we were both first year teachers. It’s amazing how simply reaching out to someone can lead to a wonderful friendship.
If you want to have good friends, be a good friend. Finally, the best romantic relationships have a foundation of friendship.
“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca