Tips for Maintaining Friendships

Friendships are a must for healthy living, says Sheenah Hankin, a Manhattan-based psychologist who specializes in relationships and personality disorders. She offers the following advice for staying connected:
Make regular dates with friends — Block out time on your calendar weeks in advance for having dinner or lunch or going to a museum with a friend, and schedule all other professional and family commitments around that. Rotate friends into the time slot.

Be clear about your time limitations — Renewing ties with friends does not mean you have to make an open-ended commitment to spend countless hours together. The most important thing is to renew your connection over time.

Entertain at home — Try to do this at least once a year so there’s one annual event you’re known for. Guests will want to reciprocate and it will keep you from dropping out of the loop.

Show you care — It can be as simple as a postcard during the family vacation. You can even prepare special cards ahead of time and send them out as birthdays and anniversaries arrive.

Keep track of important details — One way to show your love is to remember, for example, what your friend’s favorite food is, or the names of her 12 children or to ask how her mother is doing because the last time you talked she was in the hospital. Remembering is a breeze if you keep notes. Hankin recommends buying index cards and a box to keep them together.

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