How to Be a Good Friend During the Holidays
By Thao Nguyen
The end of the year is a busy time for everyone. At work, all of the projects are wrapping up, but people take forever to respond to emails because, let’s be honest, we’ve all checked out since Thanksgiving. There are endless items on the endless to-do lists to prepare for the holidays. Every form of shopping - online, at the mall, grocery - is a nightmare. And everyday new invitations show up for holiday events and get-togethers that you feel guilty saying no to, so your calendar looks like an introvert’s worst nightmare. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But it can also be the most stressful.
There’s a lot of pressure to spend time with family and make new memories. But sometimes, because of everything going on in our daily lives and because of all the quality family time, our friendships can start to fall to the wayside. Every Christmas season, I’ve found myself having less time to even have real, in-depth talks with my friends, let alone hang out them. My responses to their texts get further and further apart. I find myself having to leave their parties early, or not even showing up at all. It’s difficult trying to prioritize them when I feel guilty about slacking off at work or skipping family events.
But friends are so important. Nothing makes that clearer than when I’m stressing over finding the perfect gift to show them just how much I love and appreciate them. So I had to make the decision to be a better friend during Christmas this year. And like I do with everything, I made a nice little list to keep myself on track.
Quality time is the best gift.
With the holidays being so hectic, it can be hard to find time for your friends. Just showing them that you’re making the effort to see them will always be appreciated and shows your loved ones that you care and are still thinking about them. You don’t have to set up anything elaborate either. It can be as simple as going to the store together or even talking on the phone if you can’t physically meet up.
At the same time, be patient and understand that your friends may not always have time for you. Everyone is super busy during this time, so give them allowances for failing to be as present (pun intended) as they usually are. It can be easy to get frustrated when you’re making the effort to spend time together and others aren’t doing the same, but the greatest gift is forgiveness!
Send words of encouragement.
As wonderful as Christmas is, it can be a stressful time for a lot of people. Let your friends know that you’re there for them just by sending them a few kind words. Just a quick “hey, I hope you’re doing well! Let me know if I can help with anything!” can mean the difference between a good and bad day for a lot of people.