Maintaining adult friendships can be challenging, but it’s so worth the effort. Sure, life just gets busier with work, spouses, children and distance, but sometimes those grown-up obstacles can actually make a friendship stronger.
Here are our best tips for keeping friendships fresh, exciting and relevant – and it’s a lot easier than you’d think.
1. See each other’s faces – even when you can’t.
Seeing a friend’s face can make all the difference – even if they’re on the other side of the world. And now that we live in the future, why not take advantage of all the video-calling apps on offer? FaceTime, Skype and Google Hangout can be used online to make it feel like you’re chatting face-to-face with your buddy. One Mamamia staffer even has tea with her bestie over FaceTime. The youngsters here tell me that they also use Snapchat to keep up with their friends. If there’s anyone under 30 who can explain Snapchat to me for the millionth, I’ve got my earhorn ready.
You can't always see your friends face to face. Image via iStock.
2. Make plans...and keep them.
"Always have something planned in the near future to ensure you see each other," advised one wise Mamamia writer. It's something to look forward to and having a real-life hug with a friend is one of life's treasures. I'd like to add something to this advice: try your hardest to keep the plans you've set with your friend. Mia Freedman, co-founder and content director of Mamamia, suggests ditching this sort of person: "The Friend Who Always Cancels Right Before You’re Supposed To Meet".
3. Share a weekly meal.
Everyone needs to eat, right? Why not make an occasion out of it? Take a leaf out of actress Jennifer Lawrence's book, who says, "No matter how tired I am, I get dinner at least once a week with my girlfriends. Or have a sleepover. Otherwise my life is just all work."
Jennifer Lawrence, source of much friendship wisdom. Image: Getty.
I'll have what she's having, thanks.
4. Snail mail.
It's so delightful to receive a postcard or little present in the mail, especially when I know it takes that extra effort to communicate in a non-digital way. But if mail is the sign of a true friend, does this mean that the State Debt Recovery Office is my BFF? Because they send me a lot of letters that I forget to open.
5. Take a yearly trip together.
If your friends live far away, or if the daily grind gets the best of you, consider having a yearly trip with your besties. Not only is it something to look forward to and plan towards, it's practically guaranteed to bring that sunshiney holiday goodness to your oldest friendships. You know what they say: friends who pina colada together, stay together.
Would you perform any of these special talents over Skype...or on video, like these Aussie celebrities? (Post continues after video.)
6. WhatsApp, doc?
Many Mamamia friendship aficionados recommended using WhatsApp to keep in touch with large groups of friends. WhatsApp is a free messaging app that you can use on your smartphone, tablet and laptop to have group conversations. It's an easy way to share photos and jokes, and everyone can feel included. It feels like you're passing notes at the back of science class only you're doing it on your smartphone (also, Mr Jones won't intercept the note and then give you detention. Sorry, Mr Jones).
7. Visit each other.
If you have a mate who lives out of town, try popping in next time you have a holiday. It can mean the world to them, especially if they've moved to a brand-new place. Some of my favourite memories are of the times that I visited friends who have moved to far-flung places like Arizona and Tokyo. If you can visit, do it! On a more local level, if you have a friend who has just moved to the outskirts of their major city (ahem, like ME), then don't be afraid to make the trek to their faraway, suburban house. They'll be grateful!
What are your tips for maintaining friendships?