Many people assume that friendships do not require the same amount of love, affection, and effort as a romantic relationship, but such a conclusion is actually false.
Healthy, long-lasting friendships should be treated similarly to romantic relationships in terms of communication, quality time, and showing appreciation for one another.
Whether it be giving a thoughtful gift, planning fun outings together, or simply taking the time to talk regularly, showing your friends you love them is a key part of maintaining a strong bond. Of course, just how you go about showing your love very much depends on the nature of your friendship and the friend in question.
Different people show their love in different ways, and that’s okay. No matter what, though, your attempts to show your friend just how much you care should come from the heart. Taking some time to reflect and plan what works best for you can go a long way.
Love Languages: What Are They?
The concept of a love language is simple: a “love language” is the way in which an individual feels they can show their emotions most completely and genuinely.
In other words, understanding someone’s love language helps make sense of which actions make them feel loved and which actions are overwhelming, lackluster, or leave less of a lasting impact.
Personal experiences and preferences can each influence someone’s love language. It’s also possible to have more than one love language or to have different ones for different scenarios.
Below is a list of the most common love languages to give you some idea of what to consider:
- Acts of Service: The person feels loved when something is done for them or likes to complete acts for others to show love (making meals, washing dishes, etc.)
- Quality Time: The person feels loved when or shows love by spending quality time with others.
- Physical Touch: The person feels loved or shows love via physical contact like hugging, kissing, cuddling, etc.
- Words of Affirmation: The person feels or shows love via spoken or written words (“I love you,” or “I appreciate that you take care of me,” etc.)
- Gift Giving: The person shows or feels love through thoughtful gifts.
Of course, sticking to these guidelines isn’t absolutely necessary, but knowing what your friend appreciates is important to understanding your dynamic and how to best communicate your appreciation.
Ways to Show Love to Friends
Once you’ve determined how to best convey your compassion for your friend, you can begin to formulate a specific plan and put it into action.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Call Them: Sometimes all it takes to remind someone you love them is simply picking up the phone. Give your friend a call. If they don’t have the time to chat, just send a text telling them that you are thinking of them, and try to plan a phone call if you can.
- Go to Dinner: Quality time is important for every type of relationship, especially if it’s the primary way you show each other you care. If you live far away from your friend, you might consider “virtual” hangouts or meals together where you both participate via video call.
- Plan a Movie Night: Grab some freshly popped popcorn, uncork a bottle of natural wine, and pop in a movie you both love or have been meaning to watch. An inexpensive but intimate night like this can be just what you and your friend need to remind each other of your love and support.
- Ask How They Are: This might seem simple, but it is imperative. Ask them how they are doing. Be sincere. You never know what someone is going through, even a close friend.
- Send a Card: Getting real mail is just as exciting as ever. Sending a sweet card in the mail to a friend you do not live near is a good way to say “I’m thinking about you” with the added effort that a text message can never showcase.
- Invite Them Out: Invite your friend out for some quality time together, whether it be at a bar, a restaurant, out with others, or whatever else feels right. Try to pick an activity that will allow you to have fun but also spend real time bonding.
- Offer to Help: If you know your friend is struggling to keep up with their responsibilities, offer to run an errand, walk their dog, pick up their child from school, or cook dinner. It doesn’t have to be a consistent favor, but just doing one thing to make their day easier can go a long way.
- Send a Virtual Gift Card: Almost all food delivery services have the ability to send virtual gift cards. If you know your friend is swamped with work, family affairs, or just deserves a break, send them a gift card to Uber Eats, Seamless, GrubHub, Postmates, DoorDash, etc. It’s a great way to do something thoughtful while taking a load off their back.
- Plan Ahead for Special Occasions: If your friend’s birthday or another occasion is coming up and they are not sure what they want to do, help them plan it. If you are super close friends, you might even be able to plan it for them. Take the reins so they can just enjoy themselves!
- Visit: If your friend does not live near you, don’t forget to plan a visit every once in a while. Even just knowing that you want to be there and are willing to plan a visit can be a good reminder that you love them.
No matter what decision you make, it’s important to remember that showing your love is something that should truly come from the heart. A genuine effort for and commitment to any type of relationship, including a friendship, is an important way to build a foundation of respect, appreciation, and unconditional love.
Additionally, it helps to make sure your cup is filled before you fill others. Taking care of yourself often goes a long way when it comes to helping you maintain the relationships that matter to you most.
When in doubt, keep in mind that you’ve already shown you care about your friends without even doing anything tangible; simply by considering how to make your love clear, you’ve already taken a step toward becoming a more open and wonderful person, a true feat (and one that you should take pride in).