Take on 2017 with Your BFF By Your Side
Five Resolutions You Can Make to Strengthen Your Female Friendships
by Samantha Shapin, Co-founder of Bonded
Almost as synonymous with the New Year as a champagne toast and midnight kiss, resolutions for a fresh start come January 1 are customary, with around 45 percent of people partaking in the ritual on a yearly basis. Last year, Americans vowed to “live life to the fullest,” “live a healthy lifestyle,” and “lose weight” as the most popular resolutions. While certainly laudable goals, these are nothing new.
Personally, I have “gotten into shape” at least a handful of times in my life, with mixed success, as have the majority of the women I know. Focusing on my physical form can be a trivial, yet default, choice for me and many other women. But over the past few years, I have been challenging myself to think outside the box and find resolutions that will enrich my experiences and enhance my relationships, instead of only lifting my rear-end.
As I reflect back on 2016, the good and the bad, a strong theme begins to emerge. Nearly all the good stuff has one thing in common: my friends were a part of it. So this year, I am pledging to include my girlfriends in my New Year’s resolutions. If you have been there, done that, with the old resolution stand-bys and want a new approach, consider trying one of these five resolutions to strengthen your relationships with your gal pals or help you to become an even better friend.
1. Commit to a monthly dinner, brunch, lunch, or coffee. Carving out time for your girlfriends is one of the best ways to stay close. But, with the demands of family and work schedules, it can be tough to find time for everyone; this is great opportunity to get the whole group together at once.
Tip: To make this resolution stick, plan ahead and promise to follow through with the plans once they are made. Make room on your priority list for this one.
2. Pick up the phone to call or FaceTime -- instead of texting. I love texting as much as the next person; it is a great way to keep in touch, with the added bonus that it allows for some serious multi-tasking to take place while you do it. But, that is precisely why making the decision to pick up the phone or FaceTime a friend, instead, can be such a useful resolution. By focusing your full attention on your friend, you can more openly share stories and create personal connections that go far deeper than “likes” and emojis.
Tip: This one is particularly helpful for long distance friends. I have some amazing women in my life that no longer live 15 minutes away. FaceTime has allowed us to continue to have our glass of wine catch up sessions just like before. For the extra busy ladies out there, try scheduling your phone calls, just like a date. Even if you only have 30 minutes, it is worth it.
3. Find a volunteer project to do with your girlfriends. Nothing can bring people closer together than doing something for the good of others. We are usually friends because we have things in common. So, find a cause you both believe in and swap out the brunch mimosas for a morning at the women’s shelter, or an after-school tutor program.
Tip: If agreeing to a long term project has discouraged you from getting involved, don’t worry; there are plenty of organizations out there looking for help that only require a single day commitment.
4. Send unexpected postcards, notes, or letters. There is something about receiving a note in the mail that always makes me feel so special; perhaps, it is knowing that someone was thinking of me and took the initiative to act on it. This is a simple resolution that can go a long way in letting your girlfriends know they matter to you, while delivering a little brightness tucked in between the cable bill and weekly grocery store sales flyer.
Tip: Buy a book of stamps and pack of pretty note cards just for this reason. If the supplies are sitting around, you will be much more likely to follow through.
5. Support your girlfriends’ dreams. Is she starting a new business? Make a purchase, if you can, or help spread the word to others. Does she write a blog on her favorite things? Share her stories. Is she a super mom that could use a night off? Offer to babysit. Whatever dreams your girlfriends are pursuing, find a way to support them in their endeavours; show them through actions, not just words, that you have their backs.
When women support each other and share in each others successes, we are unstoppable. I have decided that this is my New Year’s resolution because I know that, together, we can conquer 2017.