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Friendships Refresh

You Need: Friendship Refresh

Things are fine - but they could be better!

We've all been there - while we love the people who are friends are, our relationships with them may have gotten a bit stale, gunky, or quite frankly boring!

Just like any relationship, our friendships need attention and nurturing - and from your answers a moment ago, it sounds like this is exactly the step you need to take to make the friendships in your life move from nice to amazing.

Your First Step: Remember Why You're Friends with Your Friends!

To begin your Friendship Refresh, take a piece of paper and write out the names of the friends you have, with whom you'd like to renew and refresh your connection.

Now, go one by one - and for each friend, go back to what made you love this friend in the first place. Are they the friend you always hysterically laugh with? Do you guys find your sweet spot when talking about deeper life questions? At the heart of your friendship, are you more cozy everyday life friends, all about checking in on each other's day-to-day, chatting about your families, and sharing ideas about books or style or cooking or plants, etc?

Think about what is at the heart of this connection for you, and try to bring more of that into your regular interactions. Start talking about the kinds of things that brought you two together in the first place, and watch your friend take the lead. Doing the thing together that you love to do together will help to remind you why you love each other as friends, and help you feel more connected.

(If you find that, as you reflect on what brought you into different relationships, you stumble upon one or a few that no longer feel like a great fit, you can come check out the tips we have for Friendship Release - when it's time to let go of friendships.)

What if You're Spread Thin?

But where to begin when you're busy and might not know where to start? We have two very simple suggestions: make your conversations better with a few game-changing and easy tweaks - and find some doable ways to show up for each other more consistently.

If you're looking to start really simple, just focus on these two things:

1. When you talk to your friend, try to find more opportunities to have conversations with a bit more honesty and connection.

2. Try to check in with your friend every other week, to create more of a rhythm of connection.

Want simple tips how? Keep reading or skip to the section that resonates the most:
  • Having better conversations
  • Making more time for each other (even if you have no time!)

Having Better Conversations

Listen Better & Ask Better Questions

We have tons of resources for listening better and having deep conversations centered around great questions, which we will link below.

As a cheat sheet, here are a few simple things you can do:

Your Two Little Tweaks to Change Everything

To refresh your connection with friends, focus on two things: listening better, and asking better questions. If you do these two things, your sense of connection to this person is immediately going to improve.

How do you do this, though? We have a ton of blog posts on this - which we'll link below - but here are a few simple places to start:

Ask Better Questions - Easily

Ask specific questions, avoiding ones like "how are you?" or "how's it going?". Refer to specific things going on in their life, specific people, and specific feelings.

You'll immediately take the conversation to a deeper level and a stronger sense of connection and presence with each other. (Want suggestions for 10 very specific things you could ask about? Read this.)

Listen Better (instant hack!)

When your friend shares, say back what you last heard them say. This is a really simple tweak that works instantly, even with toddlers! This alone will make them feel extra heard.

To take it a step further, try to make connections between they're sharing today, to things that they've shared before. This is a really simple way to actively listen and to let your friend instantly feel heard and understood.

Here's what the two look like together:
  • Wow that sounds like a stressful meeting and like you did not have the bandwidth to deal with that after a long week! I can imagine it was also really hard since you and that coworker had that difficult conversation a few months ago, right?

  • Yes, it sounds like Ethan is really spread thin right now and it's putting so much on your already full plate. Didn't you mention a few weeks ago that he just started training for a marathon? Is he still doing that, on top of the online courses?

  • It is so hard when you feel like you are working nonstop and doing everything you can for your kid and it just isn't enough. You had mentioned a little bit ago that you were going to start having the grandparents come on Saturdays to help out, right? How's that going?

Repeating what you heard them say + connecting it to something they said before = immediately awesome attentive listening

Skip the Superficial

It's tempting when you havent' chatted in a long time to get into catchup mode - and, it's easy to start zoning out as these checking in convos go on and on.

If you're in need of a Friendship Refresh, try to skip the superficial the next time you and your friend chat. I know sometimes this can feel scary because you don't want to be too intense, or get into heavy stuff when you only have a little time to talk. Here are a few workarounds:

  • Think of something specific you'd loveyour friend's input on (ex an issue with a family member, a career question, a life decision), and ask to find a time to talk about that specifically - so you have focus and a goal for your chat instead of aimless rambling

  • Share first - by taking the lead and being a little vulnerable and a lot honest, you're setting the tone for the conversation to be a bit deeper.

  • Try a different medium/platform. Maybe you guys are really checked out when you talk on the phone, but you can write really amazing and insightful emails to each other. Perhaps your texts fizzle out after two ping pongs, but when you send each other voice notes it's like you're together and sharing deeply so easily. If things are feeling surface-level and stale, try changing the medium you use (ex: speaking live, recording your voice, video notes, writing longer text) to communicate to see if that helps.

Making More Time for Each Other

Checking In Better

Sometimes we avoid checking in with friends because we don't have the bandwidth (or desire!) at the moment to get into a full chat. As you embark on your Friendship Refresh, try to remember that checking in is just watering the plant - it doesn't have to be a big, lengthy thing!

In this blog post, we offer 7 free and simple ways to check in with friends that instantly take your conversation to a deeper, more connected level. Read on to find simple tweaks that will make a huge difference.

Read: 7 Simple Ways to Check In Better

Schedule a Friend Date

Did you know that people working to reach a goal are 95% more likely to meet it if they have a regularly scheduled date with someone else to check in around it? 95%?!That's because the power of being accountable to someone outside yourself, and putting it on the calendar, is for real. Now - this absolutely transfers over to your friendships, too! Perhaps you're stuck in an endless game of phone tag, or you keep texting each other "we need to find a real time to properly catch up," but it's been 6 months and you still haven't. Your job as part of this Friendship Refresh is to nip this in the bud now! Get out your calendar, ask for their availability, and put an actual "date" with your friend on the books. You need this time to connect with your friends if you want to keep your relationships with them healthy, and the time won't make it itself.

What to Do During a Virtual Date

Now - the question is, what to do during this "date," especially if it's virtual? If you'd like something mroe structured than the suggestions above around active listneing and conversation starters, you can snag our freevirtual group guide, which gives some very simple activities you can do with our Card Decks to get some fun and deep conversations flowing.

This can be a really special, sweet, and unique thing to do with your friend to mix it up a bit and break otu of the rut of endless checking in and touching base and updating each other on life business. Download it below for free!
Download: FREE Virtual Group Guide

Now What? How to Keep Your Friendships Connected

Once you've completed the steps outlined above for your Friendship Refresh, it's important to make sure that you continue watering the plants! If you start feeling like your friendships are disconnected, your conversations are flat, and you're not clicking, come back to this page and walk yourself through the steps above again. It might be something you need to do every few weeks or months, and there is nothing wrong with that!

You might also find that after completing the steps above, you'd like to try some new ways to deepen your conversations and connections with your friends. If you're ready to take that step, try using one of Card Decks with your friends one-on-one, or in a group - either in person, or virtually.

Here are three simple ways you can use the cards with a friend, or a small group, to instantly have deep, intriguing, and meaningful conversations.

Explore a Topic Together

Pull one Topic Card to share. This is the area of life you will be discussing. Now, each of your pulls your own Question Card. Take turns sharing how, for you, this Question relates to the Topic you're exploring. Let the conversation go where it wants - it will always lead you in fascinating directions!

Each Explore a Pair

To go a step deeper, each of you can pull your own pair of a Question and Topic card. Take turns exploring what the pair means to you, and what light it sheds on issues going on in your life at this moment.

Try this when your friend shares: only share back with them what you hear them saying, or ask follow up questions. No advice, no "me too" comments - just reflecting back or asking more questions, and see how it totally changes the tone of the discussion and invites your friend to share in new ways. I promise you will be shocked and delighted to hear them in a whole new way, even if you've been friends for decades - it happens to us over and over again with our friends!

Help the Group Reconnect!

Get a group of 3-6 friends together (in person, or virtually). If you'd like a simpler conversation to start, pull one Topic and Question for the group, and let everyone share how it relates to their life. For a more complex discussion, have each person pull their own Topic + Question pair, and share with others what it means to them. Let the conversation flow - it will amaze you what you learn about each other, and yourselves, from this discussion!