Who doesn’t love a big ol’ celebration? A wedding, Christmas, a 30th birthday. They’re all an excuse to get a bit silly, drink a bit too much prosecco and laugh an evening away with your nearest and dearest. Having something to celebrate helps set the right tone and create a jubilant atmosphere. Celebration, in short, is a really good idea.
But. It’s really easy to be a bit bad at it. To groan at a wedding invite or pull out of a birthday do. We might make a special effort for a wedding anniversary but when it comes to celebrating with friends (another hen do, seriously?) we can quickly lose enthusiasm.
Well, I have a radical suggestion. Firstly, that celebrating our friends is really important and will, if done properly, transform the quality and intimacy of your relationships. Secondly, if you make a point of celebrating the small things with them, the big things will become less of a chore.
Choose your friends worth celebrating with
Brutal but unavoidable. You don’t have enough time, energy or headspace to be a good, celebratory friend to everybody so narrow your field. Who sparks joy? Who makes you feel good about yourself? Who challenges you on the stuff that needs challenging and encourages the stuff that needs encouraging? Seek out the friends in your group who make your heart soar and give them more of your focus. Better to be a brilliant friend to few than a mediocre friend to many.
Find out what their love language is – and then speak it
Everyone gives and receives love in different ways () and figuring that out for you and your friends will genuinely change how well you love your friends.
My top two love languages are words of affirmation and gifts. Which means I need my friends to tell me that they love me and that they care. I also love messages, WhatsApps and phone calls. I also really value gifts and the thought that goes into them. However, I can do without quality time or acts of service. It sounds silly but these different ways of expressing love can have a radical impact on your relationships.
Figure out how your friends receive love and then give it to them that way. They might be quality time people and so really appreciate a coffee date or a weekend away or maybe it’s acts of service so dropping round a ready-made dinner during a hard week might speak to them. Or maybe it’s words of affirmation and so remembering that lovingly written birthday card might be key.
Make a big deal of the small things
The scary conversations with their boss, the nailing a recipe for the first time, the booking a weekend away. Small things are important and celebrating them is too. The joy of being intentional about a few friends is that you can be more intimately involved in their lives. You know which small things are actually really big things to them. You’re traversing the landscape of their life with them and so you’re there in the low points, ready to console and you’re also not only there at the high points but you’re also aware that it IS a high point. It makes it so much easier to have the champagne chilled and ready that way….
Catch up, face to face
Easier said than done but even if it’s only every few months it’s so important to connect face to face. To have those personal moments where you can squeal congratulations, make a big deal of their latest work win and order a second round just because they’re finally tackling their driving test or managed to put their foot down with their mother in law.
Book in a recurring date every six weeks or have a regular Thursday coffee. It makes a big difference.
Cherish “your things”
Your song. Your place. I have certain coffee shops that are my go to with certain friends. Just as my husband and I have “our places”. These rhythms of regular places help add a framework, a solidarity to your relationships. They’re glistening pillars that help mark your journey and remind you of conversations and celebrations passed.
In short, celebrate the hell out of the people you love and do it with intention.
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