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10 Ways To Save A Dying Friendship

10 Ways To Save A Dying Friendship

Having good friends can lead to happier, more connected lives. However, sometimes friendships aren’t easy to maintain. We all have lots of obligations pulling at our time: busy schedules, needy family members, work lives, volunteer responsibilities, etc. Even though friendships can be the first thing to go when your schedule gets tight, keeping connected to friends is essential to a happy life.  Here are 10 ways to take your friendships from failing to fabulous.

1. Make time for your friends.

Next time one of your friends calls you and wants to do something, say yes. Spending time together will bring your relationship back from the brink.

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2. Send a thoughtful gift.

If your relationship is already on the rocks, you’ll need to do something that requires a little effort. The easiest way show someone you care is a thoughtful gift. It shows someone you took time out of your busy life to do something nice for them. It doesn’t have to be expensive—you could just send them their favorite snack.

3. Send a note.

Don’t you love getting mail? Especially mail that is not a bill? Your friend will too. A note is one of the nicest things to receive. It doesn’t have to be complicated—just telling your friend you are thinking about them will go a long way.

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4. Remind your friend of the good times.

Sometimes we go through a rough patch with friends because there are too many arguments and not enough laughs.  If you’re having a hard time getting past a disagreement, remind your friend of a good time you’ve had together. This will help him or her associate your friendship with good memories.

5. Apologize.

One of the biggest reasons a friendship dies is because of conflict. Did you have a fight? Or, are you holding a grudge? The easiest way to get over it is to apologize—even if you don’t think you did anything wrong. You can say something like “I’m sorry for making your feel…”  By validating your friend’s feelings, you will be able to get over the argument and back into the friendship.

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6. Give your friend a call.

Sometimes, a friendship dies simply because we forget to make time for each other. To stop this slow, painful death, just pick up the phone. Tell your friend you’re thinking about them. Maybe even set up a time to see each other again.

7. Set up a lunch date.

Getting together is the easiest way to reconnect. One of my favorite ways to connect with friends is over lunch. Lunch is casual, and it is usually a bright spot in everyone’s day. So, by getting together for lunch, your friend will associate you will a fun time that he or she looks forward to.

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8. Schedule a regular activity you can do together.

A regularly-scheduled activity is even better than a one-time lunch date. Plan to take a walk together once a week, or plan to go shopping once a month. Friends can help make mundane activities feel fun.

9. Do something exciting together.

Adrenaline builds connections—fast. So, think about zip-lining, rock climbing, or running a race together. This way, you can conquer a challenge, and conquer your dying friendship.

10. Be interested in your friend’s life.

Make sure that when you get together with friends you don’t just talk about your own life. Ask questions about their life, and make sure you are interested in what they are saying. You can offer advice and support where it’s needed, and become a trusted adviser and confidant.

Make sure to cultivate your friendships. They can bring laughter when you need to smile and support when you need someone to lean on. Without friends, life can get lonely and boring. So, pick up the phone today and take your friendships from on the rocks to better than ever.

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Kelsie Fannon

Kelsie is a journalist and writer who shares about productivity and money tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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