It’s the start of the year, and you know the old cliche – “new year, new me”.
Of course, for many, that may mean a new exercise routine or the time to book a holiday of a lifetime, but have you ever thought about how you could enhance your relationships with your friends?
As men, it’s rare we discuss our feelings. We all know it, and we all know we should do more. Many of us have made the conscious effort to do so, but speaking out often comes at the period of breaking point rather than when we’re feeling “a little bit down” or have noticed that perhaps our friend is going a little bit overboard on the alcohol of late.
That shouldn’t be the case, we should be checking in and looking after our friends regularly, sharing the load so that when we need them most they feel comfortable to do the same. But how often is “regularly”, and what exactly should we be doing?
Open the door to feelings
It all starts with getting comfortable with discussing our feelings, and that may come digitally. It can be more difficult talking about struggling with anxiety face-to-face, so a simple text asking a friend how they are is the start point.
The likelihood is you’ll receive a text back asking how you are, and it’s at that point you can be open, honest, and set an example on how we should engage with our friends in such instances.
That will encourage others to talk more openly, and you can then be more active in how you check in with mates, whether it be offering a shoulder to cry on or performing a drug intervention. Whatever they need, you can offer.
Tailor your timings
There’s no right or wrong answer to how regularly you should check in with friends. There’s no blanket answer stating you should text all your friends twice per week to make sure they are ok. It’s dependent on each friend’s circumstances and that may change over time.
You may find that at one point, one particular friend is really suffering, perhaps after a breakup, and it’s better to be in contact, whether that be through phone calls, texts or meet-ups on a daily basis, while another friend might be in a great place and only need a check-in every few weeks or months.
Think about your friends, their circumstances, and adapt your checking-in accordingly. You may just catch them in their hour of need…