Showing your friends and family that you care about them is essential in forming and maintaining long-lasting bonds with them that is based on genuine love for one another, mutual trust and respect. It helps in fostering a healthy relationship that feels secure and meaningful, which is important for long-term friendships, especially over geographical distance. It also boosts their self-esteem when you make them feel valued, encouraging them to work for themselves and put in equal effort to maintain their relationship with you.
By showing them that you care about them, you also let them know that you will provide them with emotional support when they need it by being someone they can rely on. Here are some easy ways to show your friends that you care about them!
Mental Health Checks
Ask your friends and family how they're doing and do quick mental health checks with them regularly. Concern shouldn't only be restricted to big issues, you can also ask them everyday questions such as how they're feeling, and if they ate enough food and drank enough water.
This reminds them that you're thinking about their well-being, which is especially helpful for people who are struggling with mental health problems, abandonment issues, and have a tendency to overthink. It would also encourage them to work on themselves if you ask them and try to motivate them when they are struggling.
Remember the Little Things
Sometimes, all your friends need is to know you are listening to them. If they mention that they want to visit their favourite cafe sometime soon, offer to accompany them whenever they'd like to go. If they say they want to start going on regular walks, let them know you'll be available at certain times to walk with them.
This lets them know that you pay attention to what they say to you or around you and helps develop a positive relationship between them and you. They would also reciprocate when you're the one who needs somebody if they know that you care about them. This is especially important because people come from different walks of life and go through different experiences.
It may be hard for them to trust that you are their friend due to what they might have gone through, and gestures like this help solidify their trust in you. Showing effort is extremely meaningful.
Give Meaningful Gifts
Gifts don't need to be big or expensive, nor do they need to be restricted to particular events. Personalisation is more meaningful, and you can give your friends little gifts that remind them that you're thinking of them and care about them, like personalized playlists, a small DIY project, a piece of decoration for their room, or a handwritten letter. For example, when my best friend feels down, I buy her favorite snack and leave it in her room.
It's as easy as that. You can take their hobbies and interests into consideration to decide on what gift you'd like to give them. You can also give them an experience instead of something material, like taking them out to watch a movie they really want to watch.
Practical presents are also a great idea. You can gift them something that they need as a utility tool on a regular basis.
Tell Them You're There for Them
The most important thing you can do for your friends and family is to be present. Make sure that they know that you're there for them, even if they need someone to just sit with them if they're going through something. Be an active listener if they are venting to you, but ensure you're only taking on what you can handle, since taking care of yourself is equally important. Offer to hear them out if they have something to say or give them company if they don't want to be left alone.
Spend Quality Time Together
Do activities together that you'd both enjoy. If you have a shared interest, like watching TV shows, listening to true crime podcasts, or cooking, set up days when you can do these activities together. Quality time can help strengthen your bond with each other and make sure you're spending time with each other regularly doing something you're both interested in. It's a great way to be there for each other and have effective communication between you two.
Ask them What they Need
If you feel like they might not be feeling okay based on their behavior or how they interact with you, ask them about it and let them know that you're there for them if they need anything that you can do for them within your capacity. Even if they say they don't need anything, they will be appreciative of the fact that you noticed something was wrong and put effort into asking them and telling them you're there for them.
It will make your relationship secure and they won't hesitate to contact you in the future. They will also reciprocate by checking on you, which helps make your bond stronger.
Give them Random Affirmations
Every time you do something nice for them, you don't need to have a reason. Sometimes, small random compliments can make their day. Let them know that you really like their hairstyle, their new outfit is cute, or their nails are painted in a pretty colour.
This would not only make them feel more confident, but they would also be appreciative of you because you notice small details about them and make it a point to tell them about it. This also improves communication between them and you, and gives you more opportunities to interact with each other.
While it's important to show your friends that you care about them, always put yourself first. If you feel like they're not putting in the same amount of effort, you're not under the compulsion to continue to make that effort. Make sure you have the emotional capacity to do these things for them too and don't let them take you for granted.
Put yourself first when a situation like this arises, because it's important to conserve all the energy you put into your relationships with yourself and the people in your life who reciprocate and actually deserve it. Remember, it's okay to step back for yourself!