Friends do more than just give you an excuse to go to happy hour on Friday night. They’re also good for your health. In fact, evidence shows that people who have childhood best friends tend to be less anxious and depressed by the time they’re 25. Having one best friend is more important than having five or six casual friends, at least from a health standpoint.
But not everyone can carry their best friendship from high school with them into adulthood. People change and grow and move away from each other. But if you’re an adult with someone who can conceivably be called a best friend, it’s worth showing them you care. Here are three ways to achieve that.
Write a letter
The days of writing letters back and forth between friends are mostly gone. When we get our mail now, it’s very unlikely to find any personal letters. We might get credit card statements and maybe a magazine or two, but for the most part, junk mail fills up our mailboxes nowadays. According to New York University, 5.6 million tons of junk mail are dropped in American landfills every year. When you write a letter to a friend, you’re giving them something to look forward to besides a used car dealership flyer that goes straight into the recycling bin.
If your handwriting isn’t too bad, feel free to write the letter by hand. But if you have the handwriting of a doctor minus the salary, it’s okay to sit in front of a computer and type out a letter to your friend. Think about what you would say to them in a text, and then expound on it. For example, in a text you might say, “How are u?” In a letter, you can say, “I’ve been thinking of you. I hope your new job is going well.” If your friend wants to start a regular correspondence, that’s great. If not, they’ll still cherish the fact that you took the time to write an actual letter, put it in an envelope, and mail it.
Get friendship bracelets
In junior high, there’s a good chance you had one of those “best friends forever” necklaces that combined to form a heart or something similar. While it may seem like something that you outgrow once you hit college, you can still use physical tokens to symbolize your friendship. Custom friendship bracelets are a solid idea no matter how old you are.
Something tangible like a bracelet is useful, mostly because you can look at the item and think of your friend. You may not have time to text or call, but you do have time to glance at your wrist and remember how much your friend means to you. Adult life means making sacrifices — too often, you have to sacrifice friendships in the short-term in order to accomplish other goals like getting a promotion at work. Wearing a bracelet can serve as a reminder to check in with your friend occasionally no matter how busy life gets.
Schedule a half hour coffee date
Some people can be so addicted to productivity that they end up becoming addicted to being busy. If you’re not careful, you can convince yourself that your worth as a person depends on how many social invitations you turn down. But that’s a recipe for quick burnout. Fight back by calling up your friend and scheduling a coffee date. If you both only have 30 minutes, then make it for 30 minutes, but plan to spend at least some time in the same room together, doing nothing more than talking about your lives. If possible, you should both agree to not check your phones for the entire coffee date.
It’s a cliché, but no one gets to the end of their life and thinks fondly of all those moments they spent working overtime in the office. Relationships help make life significant, so take a little time and invest it in your best friend.