Last week I received this card from my girlfriend… just because. It immediately brought me back to the days when I was watching Grey’s Anatomy and first heard Cristina say to Meredith “You’re my person.” I’ve loved that phrase the moment I heard it because it put into words how I felt. “My person” has been my best friend since high school and I love her fiercely for so many reasons. Somehow we have managed to remain close despite the fact that as we evolved from teenagers into adults we went in different directions literally and figuratively. We are on opposite ends of the spectrum in a few important areas, but it has never been an issue. The value of our friendship eclipses our diversity.
Getting such a sweet card from her reminded me of the importance of girlfriends and also “how” to be a best friend. In the days after I received the card, I spent a lot of time thinking about why my friendships with some women are closer and more meaningful than others. All other values being equal, the one thing that separates these women from the others is their thoughtfulness. In many small and big ways they have all made me feel loved. I know that in my own way, I have also shown them how much they mean to me too. I’ve found that as important as it is to take the time to be a good girlfriend, you also must find an unspoken balance of give-and-take so each of you feels that you both reach out equally. Being a best friend takes time and energy and it is so worth your investment. Here is a list of the Top 10 Acts of Friendship that I have either given or received:
- Bring your friend a care package when she’s ill, but for God’s sake, leave it outside the front door so you don’t wake her up from a much-needed nap. Just text her to let her know it is there. Ideal care package contents: Chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, a couple of magazines, box of tissues and her favorite candy. Even if she’s not up for the candy right away, it is just a matter of time before she’ll feel well enough for chocolate.
- Always remember her birthday! A phone call, text and/or a card on her special day is so important. Giving a gift to the special women in your life is also important, it can be something as inexpensive as fresh-cut flowers from your garden to dinner at her favorite restaurant or a gift card for a mani/pedi at her salon. As her best friend, you’ll know exactly what she likes.
- If you live near each other, send a text every once and awhile letting her know that you are headed out to the supermarket, the pharmacy or Target and ask her to text you back with anything you can pick up for her.
- Invite her to dinner and a chick flick. We all want to see movies that will not appeal to everyone in our household, this is a great way to have a Girl’s Night Out and get caught up with what has been going on in each other’s lives. Some of my favorite talks with friends have actually taken place in the driveway at the end of the evening, we just can’t stop talking – and I love those moments.
- Buy her something that she has mentioned to you in passing. I recently received several pairs of the cutest socks from a friend. It may seem like an unusual gift, but it was so thoughtful once you know that I had been grumbling to her about the fact that I only buy athletic peds and I seriously needed to toss them out in favor for something pretty and feminine.
- Create an annual ritual. Every year, a group of my friends get together and attend the Near and Far Aid Home Designer Tour. We meet at House #1 and tour the house together and visit 2-3 more before stopping for lunch. Lunch is always such fun as we sip wine and compare notes about the homes we liked best. After lunch we re-group and visit the rest of the houses on the tour. The Near and Far Aid is a charitable organization so we have the added bonus of feeling good that our ticket proceeds are going to an important cause.
- Celebrate the special things that are taking place in her life. Whether she is going on vacation, having a wedding anniversary, or she is being recognized for an accomplishment – a simple text letting her know that you are happy/excited for her makes those occasions a little more sweet.
- Support her in difficult or anxious times. When her loved ones are ill, she feels nervous about starting a new job or she is having trouble with a relationship, the most helpful thing for her to know is that you are there to listen. Sometimes I call my friends and don’t even say “hello” I immediately start venting and I always feel so much better just getting it off my chest.
- Show your loyalty. At some time or another, someone is going to offend or upset her and she is going to be furious or worse, hurt. Let her know in no uncertain terms that you have her back. Get a bottle of wine (and two straws) and be outraged with her. Don’t forget to tell her that the person that did this to her is “cray cray.” Please DON’T suggest she mis-read the situation, at least not a first. Just let her be pissed, 24-hours can change her perspective.
- Keep her secrets. We all need someone in our life who we trust implicitly, that person with who we can share anything. That level of trust is something very rare and should be cherished.