“Tips for Being a Good Friend”
Okay, so my brain has been a little “off” since last Thursday. I’m thinking that the lack of sleep and worrying about my “baby” has caught up with me. Either that or I’m just getting old and fuzzy in the brain. I’ll go with the first one. So…my Tuesday tips are finally reaching you on Friday. They are applicable any day of the week so I guess that in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter all that much when you get them.
I’ve been thinking a lot about friends recently. And especially since last Thursday’s “incident.” That’s what we’re calling the seizure/ambulance ride/ER visit: the “incident.” My phone used up all its power taking phone calls, emails, and text messages while we sat waiting to learn something in the ER. (We didn’t learn a whole lot, by the way. And I was not very pleased. But that’s another story.)
Anyway, all afternoon I got sweet messages and texts, and phone calls from friends asking about Kayla. Whether we needed anything: food, someone to sit with, etc. So I’ve been thinking about how we can show people we care. Basically, how to love on your friends. And not just when they need it due to a crisis, but everyday. You may or may not include your family in your list of friends. I guess that depends on your family. 🙂 But I felt the love especially last Thursday from my friends and from Kayla’s, and from my family as well.
Here are a few things – “tips” if you will – on being a good friend. We all need to be good ones if we expect to have them. Just saying.
1. Pray for her (or him).
First and foremost, pray for your friends. If they are going through a rough time, just having a bad day, or just come to mind because you love them lots and lots, say a prayer. Pray for the situation and for God’s will in it, and pray a prayer of thankfulness that God has given you this friendship. God brings people into our lives for a reason. Good friends – really good and true friends – are a special gift from Him. Treasure them.
2. Call them up or send a text.
A phone call out of the blue just to say “hi” and “I’m thinking about you” will make your day. A sweet text message will do the same. I do both, but I’m now more likely to text. This is mainly because I can send a text so my friend will know I’m thinking about her, and I’ll tell her to call me when she has a chance or if she needs me. I like texting because the message gets there so the person knows you have them on your mind, but if they are in a busy situation – the ER, work, etc. – they might not be able to talk. But they’ll still know you’re there and you’re thinking of them.
3. Celebrate their birthday.
I’m not necessarily talking about anything extravagant or expensive here. On my birthday last year (the big 45!), my friend Kathryn met me for breakfast and then we went hiking. In the evening, she and some of my closest friends went with me to eat at my favorite dessert place (they do have “real” food, too) and celebrated with me. It made me feel super-special! 🙂 A card, a cake, a cupcake, a little lunch…just some time spent with her on her big day means a lot!
4. Send cards for no reason.
I still like to get mail. In the mailbox. Outside by the road. Not the email box. (Though I like emails, too.) I like to send cards sometimes just because I can. Not for a special occasion, but just to let my friends know how much I appreciate their friendship. Now, you know Hallmark has a sappy card for any and all occasions. And those are nice. My cards tend to be more of the humorous variety, just because that’s me. I don’t mind sappy, but I really like funny. Sometimes you can find one that is funny but sends a sappy message. Those are the best. And who wouldn’t like to open the mailbox and get a card in a bright yellow envelope instead of a bill? Who? No one, that’s who.
5. Take a meal to her and her family.
If your friend is going through a rough time – or even just having a really crappy kind of day – nothing says love like a meal you don’t have to cook yourself. A pot of soup. A casserole. A pizza delivery. It really doesn’t matter. Taking a meal is a time-honored “I’m thinking about you/sorry for what’s going on in your life” tradition. At least it is here in the south. If you aren’t a cook, have a pizza delivered or pick up a bucket of chicken. Really. It’s the thought that counts. Now, if you take dessert, you are the bomb. Chocolate cake makes everything better. Doesn’t make situations or sadness go away, but chocolate definitely says that you care.
6. Keep the kids.
This one may be the hardest one. Or not. But if your friend needs a night out alone or with her hubby, offer to keep the kids. If your house is past the kid-proofed stage, keep them at their’s. Then they have their own toys and you can put them to bed in their own beds. If you’re up for the overnight/weekend thing, more power to you. That’s a lot of love. (And you hope that she loves you enough to reciprocate at some point. These are the friends you want!)
7. Have a girls’ night.
Invite a friend or two (or several) over for a girls’ night. Watch a chick flick. Just talk. Eat. You know it’s not a real girls’ night if food isn’t involved. Preferably food of the chocolate variety. That’s just my humble opinion. Girlfriends can talk about lots of things with one another that husbands and boyfriends just don’t get. And truly, husbands and boyfriends really don’t want to talk about some of the things we talk about. That’s okay. That’s what your girlfriends are for.
8. Have a standing lunch date.
Whether it’s one day a week or one day a month, get out your calendars and plan a regular lunch date. (Or breakfast or dinner. Doesn’t matter.) Make nurturing your friendships a priority. Everyone needs friends. Anyone who says they don’t is in a state of denial. There comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to call on your friends. The good ones. The ones who take your calls in the middle of the night. Or who drop everything when you need them. You can’t have tons of these. Be select.
9. Exercise together.
Get in shape together. Boy, is it easier to exercise when there is someone doing it with you and encouraging you. A walking partner is terrific. Or a gym buddy. If you can’t physically exercise together, then call or text and say, “It’s time!” Then each of you exercise where you are and report back to one another. Honesty is important here. You can’t call up your friend and tell her it’s time to exercise, then sit and watch television while she’s out somewhere putting in a 5-mile walk. That’s just not nice.
10. Have a coffee date.
I saved the best for last. Or my favorite anyway. Most of my really good friendships have been built over cups of coffee at my kitchen table or sitting on my front porch. Coffee doesn’t HAVE to be involved, but why wouldn’t it be? Nectar of the gods in my book! Sit in the living room with your feet propped up and have real conversations. About real stuff. Not superficial stuff (at least not all the time). Share your struggles. Share your joys and your not so joyful times. Grow your friendships.
Real, true, deep friendships take work. They take time. This shouldn’t be optional. You really need to take that time. One day you’ll need a true friend. If you haven’t done the work along the way, you might find yourself in crisis mode with no one to come alongside you and walk through it with you. That’s no good.
I experienced an outpouring of friendship last Thursday. The phone calls, messages and texts really made the day easier to bear. Knowing Kayla was being prayed over by friends and family eased my nerves a lot. Those of you who made those calls and sent those texts mean the world to me. You know who you are and you know I love you. And I hope you know, I’ll do the same for you if you ever need me.
Take a minute right now and make a call, send a text or message, or drop a note or card in the mail. Let someone know today that you love her and appreciate her!
Have a blessed day!