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How to enhance the bond of friendship

How to enhance the bond of friendship?

Mugdha Chandorkar, Child Counselor

Friendships are often boosted by the littlest of things—simple efforts that may seem trivial and not take much of a commitment, and yet can have enormous benefits. Are you looking to bolster the friendships you have?
Read on.

  1. Ask a question you’ve been putting off, because you thought you didn’t have time to talk about it.

Often, two friends grow apart not because of a specific conflict, but because they gradually stop confiding in each other due to feeling too busy in everyday life. It’s hard to prioritize conversation when there are so many demands on our time in modern life. To keep a typical close friendship going, letting them in on what’s going on in your life—especially stuff that feels too “big” for superficial check-in chit-chat—is key.

  1. Think of a memory that makes you laugh, and text or email it to your friend.

Try sharing fun memories and have unexpected laugh that brings nostalgia and connection. When two friends have a significant history, but have grown disconnected, it feels particularly pleasurable to think about the good ol’ days, and the amount of time it takes to send such a message is pretty minimal. It also lets your friend know that you are thinking of them, even when you haven’t been in touch in a while.

  1. Reveal something about yourself that you need to talk through, but feel vulnerable about.

Another thing we often put off in our all-too-busy times is having conversations that feel uncomfortable or difficult. But, usually, opening this particular line of communication also helps you get to know your friend better, gives you the opportunity to hear a different side that might teach you something, and strengthens the bond of trust between you both.

  1. Figure out a date that’s important to your friend—their birthday, their school elections, their pet’s birthday, or even a difficult milestone in their lives, like a parent’s death—and write it in your calendar so that you will know to do something personal when the time comes.It’s a great way to get closer, by letting your friend know you are thinking of them—and taking that moment to connect with them on a day that’s important.
  2. Write a thank-you note to your friend about something they’ve done that means a lot to you.

Yes, dozens of thank-you notes for wedding gifts can come to feel like something of a chore, but writing a thank-you note about something more unexpected can bring quite a boost. Did your friend help you out of a jam? Did they lift your spirits when you were down? Did they inspire you to be better in some way? Did they give you the benefit of the doubt when others did not? Any of those things is more than worthy of a thank-you note, and don’t be surprised if it not only creates a special moment for you and your friend, but also gives you a significant mood boost as well.

  1. Take 15 minutes to send a funny postcard or a small package of your friend’s favorite candy in the actual mail.

These days, the only mail we’re guaranteed to receive from an actual postal carrier seems to be junk that goes straight into the recycling bin. What a special surprise to get even a handwritten postcard. With the latest news that many younger people don’t even know where to get stamps, it’s pretty clear that you’ll stand out with some serious friendship mojo if you take the time to send something in the mail. And if it’s something truly personalized to them (or perhaps has a little bit of sugar?), even better.

  1. Tell your friend about something new in your life that they may not know about

News is almost always more interesting to talk about than the same-old, same-old routine. Is there something unexpected going on for you—for better or for worse—that has impacted you lately? If it’s important to you, then it can be important that your friend knows it—so that they can empathize, advise, or just listen. It’s yet another opportunity to connect and let them see your perspective, getting to know you more deeply in the process.

  1. Try to recall your last conversation, and vow to follow up on something specific from it the next time you communicate.

More and more research is showing that asking questions—and following up on them—is crucial for increasing likeability, and we can extend this quite reasonably to assume that the more two people like each other in an interaction, the stronger their relationship potential is. Of course, it’s not helpful just to pepper your friend or conversation partner with questions. The follow-up is even more important, letting people know not only that you thought to ask, but that you listened to and remembered their answer. Best of all, it gives your conversations depth and continuity, which differentiates the “Tough weather we’re having, huh?” small-talk of acquaintances from the deeper bonds of true friends.