Everyday Maintenance for Friendships

There are little things you do every day for your car to keep it running smoothly, like keeping the tank from getting empty and warming up the engine for a few minutes each morning. Then there are the bigger investments -- like oil changes, regular inspections, and new tires -- that extend your car's health and life expectancy. Well, everything in your life that you want to operate at full capacity needs the same care and maintenance, from your relationships to your delicates, and that definitely includes your friendships. There are simple things you can do every day to help your friends feel adored and valued, and taking the time to do them benefits all of you. With the right care, our friendships can be fun, validating, and even life changing. Here are a few fun ways to show your friends that you care.

Group Text
In the middle of a crazy workday, it's fun to take a few minutes to laugh with your girlfriends about a silly YouTube video or reminisce about how bad you were at karaoke on your last birthday. It isn't hard to catch up if you don't let too much time pass. But if something more serious is going on, find a quiet time to make a call instead of texting. There's nothing worse than getting a group text asking, "How do you feel after that last breakup?"

Shop Together
It's hard to find the time to get together for a meal or drink, but you and your friends all need to go grocery shopping and can have fun catching up while being productive. Plan to meet at a store in between your homes each weekend for some good grocery girl time.

Exercise Together
Something magical happens when you work out with your best friend -- it becomes fun! You'll stop dreading the gym and start looking forward to it if you know your buddies will be there, so make a pact to join the same gym and meet up a few times a week. Just make sure to use code names when talking about co-workers and exes, because that sweaty guy on the next treadmill over is totally listening.

Converse on Commutes
There's no better time to catch up than when you're stuck on the freeway in gridlock. If you make sure you're not distracted and call a friend, the time you spend sitting in traffic will not be wasted. But skip this one if you take public transportation, as there's nothing worse than listening to someone's loud gossip session on a crowded city bus.

Use Social Media Wisely
Are you missing a friend but can't seem to coordinate schedules for a phone session or girls' night? Tweet an old photo of you two on Throwback Thursday and take a minute to remember how much fun you had. No, you can't replace face-to-face time with a tweet or a status update, but you can use social media to fill the gaps in between your get-togethers.

Remember Snail Mail
The fact that most of us get nothing in our boxes except junk mail makes receiving a greeting card or a little note that much more special. The next time you're at Target, grab a cute card and send it to your friend just because. It will make her day and make you feel good about making her day.

Make a Plan to Make a Plan
A recent study showed that just planning a vacation lifted people's spirits even more than actually taking the vacation. We all need something to look forward to, so even if you can't afford a girlfriend getaway right now, email your friends about the possibility of taking one. You'll probably find a way to make it happen, and you'll be happier thinking about it even if you don't.

Make Offers
If your friend has a stomach bug or a sick kid and you don't think there's anything you can do to help, pick up the phone and ask, "What can I do to help?" There's likely something small and easy that you can do like picking up her meds or calling her boss. Don't assume that she'll ask if you don't offer. So many of us are reluctant to admit when we need help unless a good friend just keeps asking.

Remember Little Things
When talking to your friend on the phone, pay attention and try to remember the details of what she's telling you. It will make such a difference the next time you chat and you ask her, "What ever happened with Marjorie in Accounting?" Show that you care by actually acting like you care.

Ask for Help
It can be hard to admit that you need help, but asking a friend to help you can actually bring you closer. Notice how sometimes the strongest, most independent people are often the loneliest. There's nothing wrong with asking your friends for help, no matter how big or small a favor it may be. That's what they're there for and it's what will bond you together forever.

For more ideas about how to nurture your friendships, check out our new book, Girlfriends: The Hot Chicks'* Mini-Guide to Celebrating Female Friendships

*Hot Chick (definition): A confident woman. She knows what she wants and gets it. She is aware of her flaws, but she doesn't obsess over them and instead thinks that maybe (just maybe) they actually add to her unique beauty. She is passionate. She loves life. She is comfortable in her own skin and owns her sexuality, but uses it purely for good. She does not see other women as her enemy and competes only with herself to do her best at all times and to be her best at all times. She is forthright, honest, disarmingly herself and tries to be no one else. She is having fun and she is sexy and you just want to be around her to soak up some of those good vibes. She isn't perfect, but she doesn't care because she is hot. And so are you.