I love New Year’s resolutions. They’re an excuse to challenge myself and set new goals for the year ahead. I’m pretty serious about sticking to them, too. I like to write my goals for the year on a piece of paper and tape it to the fridge so that I always remember my plans, and can cross them out as I accomplish them.
Usually, I make goals for my career, exercise goals, and plans for how many books I want to read that year. But this year my goals are a little different.
After a big move this year, I realized that friendships are really important to me. Not only do I miss my friends back home, but I had to make all new friends in my new city. I learned how important friendships are to me, so this year I’m making resolutions to be a better friend and have better friendships.
Here are my resolutions for better friendships in 2020.
1. Set aside time for friendships
To have better friendships, you have to be a better friend. And part of that is making friendships a priority.
Being in a relationship for so long, I’ve found that I often put friendships on the backburner, preferring to spend time with my husband rather than make plans with friends.
But I realize that I need to maintain friendships in order to keep them. When you don’t make time for a friend, they can start to fade out of your life. You both forget to call, don’t think to invite each other over, one of you moves, and suddenly you don’t know each other anymore. It’s the worst.
Of course, there are exceptions to this. I have some friends who I can not see for years and when we do finally get together, it’s like no time has passed. But especially with new friends, if you don’t spend time developing a friendship, the relationship can crumble.
One of my biggest resolutions this year is to make more time for friends. For me, making time to go out to dinner with just one friend, one time a week, is a great improvement. But maybe you’re more flexible and can make more time for friends.
Maybe your resolution could be calling 5 different friends a week. Or maybe you want to go to lunch with someone new from your office every day until you’ve met everyone. It’s easy to cater this resolution to your friend goals and no matter how you do it, you’re sure to have lots of fun.
2. Remember birthdays
One way to show your friends you care is to remember their birthdays. And I’m not just talking about about posting on their Facebook wall.
It means so much to people when you remember their birthday. It shows that you care and that you want to celebrate them. When my friends have reached out to me before my birthday, asking if I wanted to go out for a drink for my special day, it has meant so much to me. Even when friends follow through and show up for birthday celebrations means a lot.
That’s why one goal I’m making this year is to remember my friends’ birthdays. I’m looking up everyone’s birthdays and writing them down in my calendar. I’ll try to make sure we make time to celebrate but even if I just end up sending a card or even a text to friends for their birthdays, I know that it will probably mean a lot.
3. Planning activities your friends will like
I love planning hang outs with friends. But I especially love planning hang outs at places I love.
I’m always asking friends if they want to go to the local wine bar or go and see a comedy show. But somehow I never seem to be free when friends ask me to do things they like to do. I almost always turn down requests to go to restaurants I don’t like and for activities I don’t particularly enjoy. Funny how that works.
But this year, I’m changing that.
I’m making a goal to try to do more things that my friends like. When I know I’m going to see my craft-loving friend, I’ll offer to go to a knitting class and when I’m planning to see my outdoorsie friend, I’ll ask her to go on a hike.
It’s a great way to show that I value our friendship (and my friend’s interests), plus, it’s a good way to expand my own interests.
4. Double date
Hanging out with friends is a great way to bond. But going out on a double date? That’s a whole new level. It’s one thing to talk to your friend, but a whole other thing to get to know their partner (whether they be short term partners or long term relationships), and let your friends get to know who you’re with.
It can be a great way to get to know each other better, and if your partners get along too, it could be a great way to expand your friendship to include “couple activities.”
5. Be a great conversationalist
It’s so fun to talk to friends, except when it’s not. I’ve definitely had friends who were not always super fun to talk to. I know a few people who always seem to be complaining about work or complaining about other friends. I also know a few people who practically zone out when I’m talking. They’re the kind of people who wait to talk, instead of listen.
And don’t get me wrong, I can complain about stupid stuff and I can also sound like a broken record when talking about work. But it’s nice to talk to friends about interesting things, intellectually stimulating things, and to have fun when we’re talking.
So, this year I’m determined to be a better conversationalist. I’ll keep myself updated on interesting news stories, but I’ll also try to be more engaging and be a better listener.
If you’re looking to make better friendships in 2020, sometimes you have to be a better friend. These tips will help you to improve your friendships skills and friendships in the new year!