Life is hectic. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything we want or need to do. Because of this, there are some aspects of our lives that tend to fall by the wayside, one of which being our friendships. However, these platonic connections aren’t just fun — they’re often absolutely vital. Here’s why, no matter what’s going on in your life, you should check in on your friends more often.
Why you should check in on your friends more often
A 2022 study performed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology discovered that people really appreciate having their friends check in — a lot more than we might realize, in fact. Here’s why it’s such a good thing to do.
- It strengthens your relationship. Checking in on your friends regularly shows them that you care and value their well-being. This helps to strengthen your bond. Plus, it fosters a deeper level of trust and intimacy in your friendship. Your friends are the ones who will always have your back, no matter what. They’re like extended family in many cases. Without regular contact and effort, these connections can fade. You really don’t want that to happen.
- It can help them (and you!) feel less lonely. Life can be lonely and overwhelming at times. Reaching out regularly can provide a source of comfort, support, and a listening ear when it’s needed the most. Even when we’re busy and often surrounded by people, it’s easy to feel alone. Reaching out can alleviate that feeling.
- It improves mental health. Mental health is a crucial aspect of our overall well-being. Friendships have a significant impact on mental health. Therefore, it stands to reason that regularly checking in with friends can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Your friends remind you of who you are. They uplift you and make you smile and vice versa. You can’t help but feel good when you’re with them, right?
- It helps you stay connected. As we grow older and our lives become more hectic, it can be challenging to stay connected with our friends. Regular check-ins ensure that you stay in touch and up-to-date with each other’s lives. Sure, there are some friends you can go years without chatting to and pick up right where you left off. However, that’s no excuse not to reach out.
- It’s a great way to celebrate milestones. Friends play an important role in celebrating life’s milestones, such as birthdays, graduations, and other special occasions. Checking in with friends regularly helps you stay aware of these important events and be there to support and celebrate with them. You don’t want to talk to them in a few months only to realize you missed their birthday.
- It’s important to be supportive. Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes friends need help navigating difficult situations. Regular check-ins with friends provide an opportunity to offer support and be there for them during trying times. Same goes for getting the support you need. Your friends will pick you up when you’ve fallen down. They’ll remind you that everything is going to be just fine.
- It keeps you (and them!) accountable. When you check in with friends regularly, it helps to keep each other accountable for personal goals and aspirations. This can help to keep you motivated and focused on what you want to achieve.
- It encourages growth. Regular check-ins with friends can provide a safe space for open and honest conversations about personal growth and self-improvement. This can help to encourage and support each other’s personal growth and development.
- It provides a sense of community. Friendships play an important role in building a sense of community and belonging. Regular check-ins with friends can provide a sense of comfort and security knowing that you have a supportive network of people in your life.
- It helps build memories. Life is filled with moments, big and small, that we remember and cherish. Checking in with friends regularly helps to create lasting memories and build a strong foundation of friendship that lasts a lifetime.
How to check in
- FaceTime them or send a quick text. A quick FaceTime call or text message can be a great way to check in on friends and see how they’re doing. It only takes a few minutes and couldn’t be easier. No matter how busy you are, you have a few seconds to fire off a text. And, if you’ve got an extra five minutes on your lunch break, a quick FaceTime can really boost your mood and theirs.
- Stop by their place or their office (if appropriate). While you might think you’re short on free time, that’s not entirely true most of the time. If you’re close enough to them that they won’t be weirded out by you turning up at their apartment unannounced with pizza, do it. Same goes for popping by their office during their lunch break with a fresh iced coffee. This can be a great way to catch up and connect face-to-face.
- Send some memes on social media or comment on their latest selfie. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be used to check in on friends and keep up with what they’re doing. They’re low effort but high impact, especially because we’re all on our phones 24/7 anyway. Also, it’s a good way to put a smile on their face if you have an especially hilarious meme to send.
- Shoot them a quick email. If your friend is not easily reachable, consider sending them an email or letter to let them know you are thinking of them. Sure, Gen Z is over email and it’s all about DMs/instant chats, but we millennials still appreciate an email!
- Send them a care package. A thoughtful care package filled with treats and personal items can be a great way to show your friends you care and are thinking of them. This is especially true if they live far away. Everyone loves getting mail, and occasionally spoiling them with yummy treats, a good book, and other stuff you know they’ll love is really sweet.
- Make plans to hang out. This is undoubtedly one of the best suggestions on this list. Plan a fun outing with your friend, such as a picnic, movie night, or sporting event, to catch up and spend quality time together. Catching up via text or on social media is fun, however, it’s even better to be together in person. Find a time that works for you both and make it happen.
- Offer to help. If you know your friend is going through a tough time, offer to help in any way you can. This could include running errands, cooking a meal, or just lending an ear to listen. While they may not need anything from you, knowing you’re there and willing will make a big difference.
- Ask how they’re really doing. The simplest way to check in on a friend is to ask how they are doing and truly listen to their response. This is surprisingly effective in getting them to open up because how often are we really asked this question? You want more than surface-level details, so encourage them to really open up.
- Simply listen. Sometimes you don’t have to do anything special to check in on your friends. You just have to be willing to be a sounding board for them to vent to and that’s enough.
The bottom line
Remember, the most important thing is to make an effort to reach out to your friends and show them that you care. Regardless of the method, the simple act of reaching out can have a profound impact on your relationships and bring happiness and a sense of connection to both you and your friend.
Not only that, but staying in contact regularly is essential for maintaining healthy and meaningful relationships. It helps to strengthen your bond, improve mental health, and provide a sense of community and support. So, take a moment today to reach out to your friends and see how they’re doing. They’ll love hearing from you, and the positive impact it has on your friendship will be worth it. In fact, you might just wish you’d made this a priority earlier.