6 Practical Ways to Love Your Friends Well
I have been SO incredibly blessed with the amazing friends in my life. My girls are kind, genuine, encouraging, incredibly selfless, and constantly make me laugh until my stomach hurts. Because I am so lucky to have them in my life, I want to be intentional to make it a priority to pour into them and go out of my way to make them feel loved and appreciated for all of the things they do for me. Life can get busy and these are little things that might take some extra time and effort to do, but in the long run your friends will be so thankful for each of these ways that you show them how much you love them! Everyone deserves to feel a little extra cared for & appreciated and it can be as easy as these 6 small gestures.
1. Write them a handwritten letter and send it in the mail.
Handwritten letters have definitely gone out of style, but this is one of the best ways to show someone you love them and are thinking about them, especially if they’re a friend from farther away. Snail mail and being pen pals is so fun because who doesn’t love getting letters and surprises in the mail? I am such a nerd and love finding lots of different stationary and keeping it all stored together so that when I go to write a letter, I can pick out the perfect card for each person I’m writing to. My friend Olivia Kegley is incredible at this and always sends the best snail mail. If snail mail isn’t really your thing, even sending them an encouraging text to let them know you’re thinking about them and praying for them can go a long way.
2. Get to know their love languages.
I absolutely love the idea behind love languages and knowing them in order to love your friends better. If y’all don’t know what love languages are, these are the five different ways that each person best gives and receives love. The five “languages” are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. For example, my love language is physical touch (aka a hug or back scratch) as well as quality time (spending good, intentional time together), but if my friends only ever did acts of service for me, I might not best feel loved by them. This isn’t to say they aren’t putting in effort that is noticeable and appreciated, but I feel most loved in the other two ways. For example, my friend Jordan’s love language is receiving gifts, so I know that to make her feel the most loved I might bring her a Cascara Cold Brew on a rough day, or surprise her with a new yummy smelling candle for her apartment. Knowing the specific languages and which are applicable to each of your friends really helps to best and most efficiently show them you love them. If you’re unsure what your love language is and want to learn more about it, there are quizzes you can take online to find out!
3. Make them a playlist.
I love music SO much and I love sharing new music with my friends. Making your friends a playlist of songs you think they would like or songs that remind you of them is such a unique gesture and just super fun. I love making playlists like this for my friends and I love listening to the ones they’ve made for me. Music definitely does have the effect of taking you back to a certain time and place in your life and personalized playlists like this definitely do that. This is such a simple and easy thing to do and can really make someone’s day. Back in the day this would’ve been equivalent to making a mixed CD and giving it to a friend (which I used to love to do hahahaha) but a Spotify or Apple Music playlist works just the same now! Although I do miss the simpler times of switching back and forth between various mixed CD’s on my portable CD player that I’d listen to while walking my dog around the neighborhood…
4. Take them to your favorite restaurant.
There is something so sweet about sharing a meal with someone and reminds me of the way Jesus went about his meals, eating with sinners, feeding the 5000, and even the intimacy of the last supper with his disciples. I love getting dinner with friends and being able to share my favorite foods with them if they’ve never had it before (if y’all ever want to join me for dinner I’ll probably take you to Surin, Taco Mama, or Chipotle…). There is so much community and togetherness found in sharing a meal and can be one of the best ways to spend intentional time together. On the other hand, perhaps ask your friend to take you to their favorite dinner spot and you might find a new favorite place!
5. Be a good listener.
Often times all someone needs is to be able to talk and have their friend truly listen, not to butt in with advice or comments or be halfheartedly paying attention while scrolling through Instagram, but to really take in all they have to say and be there to support them with whatever is going on. I am so guilty of loving to talk and am often too quick to tell people what I think or begin to update them on my life also, so this is absolutely something I am working on, but listening can truly be one of the best things we do for our friends. It’s so crucial to genuinely ask them, “How are you really doing?” when you have a chance to catch up. Sometimes it can be too easy to put on a happy face for the world but we need friends who are going to check in on us, look out for us, and consistently want what is best for us. James 1:19 states, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. This is an important verse to keep in our minds when being intentional about listening to our friends speak.
6. Surprise them with coffee or a little treat.
It can be so encouraging before a big test or after a bad day to see your friend with coffee in hand for you. If you live far away from them, one of my favorite things to do is venmo them $5 and say “Starbucks is on me today!!” or something like that. Coffee can seem like the simplest little thing but can really brighten someone’s day and let them know that you’re thinking about them and that you care (bonus points if you know their go-to order!).
Overall, all of these ideas are simply suggestions but are things I have seen go a really long way in terms of letting your friends know how much you love and appreciate them. One of my favorite bible verses, Colossians 3:12-14 says it best, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” True friendship takes a lot of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And of course perhaps more than all of that, forgiveness and love. I love how this verse highlights these virtues and really makes me think of what it means to love and be a friend. I hope these 6 ways to love your friends well inspired you all and encouraged you to let your friends know how thankful you are for them. Happy Monday!