Sunday marks Friendship Day; maybe it's time to freshen up your friendships? If you're in a bit of a friend rut or hope to improve your relationships, take a few simple steps to strengthen those connections. For advice on staying in touch, finding time, and making the most of special moments, take a look at these common friendship faux pas — and how to avoid them.
The faux pas: You're completely MIA.
The solution: Sure, life gets busy, but staying in touch doesn't have to be a full-time job. If your hectic schedule means you can't meet up for coffee or go out over the weekend, show your friend that you're thinking of her in a simpler way. Call her during your lunch break, text her a funny picture, or email her a quick update and let her know you'll follow up when you have more time on your hands. Even if you don't have lots of time, you can take advantage of the shorter bits of time you do have.
The faux pas: You flake on plans.
The solution: It's inevitable that every once in a while something comes up, and you'll have to ditch a friend date at the last minute — just don't turn it into a habit. Before you agree to a plan, take the time to be sure you can make it, and if you do need to cancel, call rather than text to show a little extra courtesy.
Keep reading for more ways to avoid friendship mistakes.
The faux pas: You don't take initiative.
The solution: With any kind of relationship, it's nice to offer a bit of reassurance to let your friend know you care. Even if she loves to be the planner in the group, step up and organize an event every so often or call her to make plans. When you take that extra initiative, she'll appreciate the effort and feel more confident in your friendship.
The faux pas: You ignore her significant other.
The solution: You don't need to dote on her plus-one if you're not a huge fan, but it's important to be polite and respectful of her relationship. If there's a serious issue that bothers you, that's another story, but if he's just not your cup of tea, find something you can appreciate about him — say, his eclectic taste in music or his hilarious travel stories — and steer the conversation in that direction.
The faux pas: You demand too much of her time.
The solution: It's great to have a friend you love so much that you could spend every waking moment with her, but the truth is, some people prefer to set some boundaries. You'll strike a different balance with different friends, but if you start to feel like she's a bit overwhelmed by your texts, G-chats, or attempts to hang out, step back and consider what kind of distance she likes to create for herself.
The faux pas: You forget major events.
The solution: Forget about her birthday, her big interview, or a special anniversary? Don't avoid the issue because that will only make things worse. Instead, acknowledge the event as soon as you remember, then offer to do something special, like treating her to brunch at her favorite spot or sending her a few books of yours that she's been wanting to read.