Thursday, October 3, 2013

How to Be a Good {Local} Friend

April 2013.

After school one last week we went to met Jaclyn and her kids at the park because it had been too long since we'd be together in person. Texts only sustain for so long when you live three-tenths of a mile from your best friend.

Five kids in five years have taken a college friendship to new levels that I'd be lost without. And my kids know it too.

My niece and nephew were in the van after school the other day when I told my kids we were going to meet Luke, Norah and Caroline at the park. My nephew asked if Jaclyn was my sister or friend and my 3-year-old Ben answered: "Jaclyn is almost family."

Indeed. Almost family is one of the reasons I love living in this small town of ours. God surprised me with some of the best friends of my life here. We do live together, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

In honor of my friends here who are like family, I put together a list of how to be a good {local} friend:

1. Make plans. Invite someone over. Suggest a meeting at the park or coffee shop. Host other families and people in different season of life for dinner.

2. Text and call. Follow up if you know someone had an appointment or started a new job. Just ask how she is. And really listen.

3. Deliver dinner. This is a favorite of mine since I learned several years ago when Cate was born what a blessing this truly is. I like to take a casserole or soup earlier in the day so my friend can just bake/reheat it when she's ready to eat.

4. Send real mail. I do this sometimes because, like the food delivery, I like it myself. Not too long ago a friend sent me a multi-page, handwritten letter! Such a treat! Emails are good too.

5. Include friends in your regular routine. There is another family we eat with after church most weeks. Another family shares our addiction to Settlers of Catan. We have friends getting ready to have their first baby that have introduced us to more than one new game.

6. Tell a friend if you miss her. Just because someone lives close doesn't mean we have to be alright with not actually seeing her.

7. Do it -- just because. It could be anything. Bake them a dessert. Treat her to lunch. Send her flowers.

8. Offer to keep her kids. Maybe you know she's busy. Maybe you know she'd like a break. Maybe your kids want playmates. Just because works here too.

9. Share real life. Trust them with the hard things. Let them in when your house is a mess and your heart isn't much tidier. Reveal fears and dreams.

10. Make yourself available. This may mean to ask if there are errands you can run while you're grocery shopping or being willing to rearrange your day to help her. It could also mean incorporating any of the other nine things listed above, even if it interrupts what you had planned.

What else would you add? How are you a good friend to those near you or how have they been good to you?

Coming next week: How to Be a Good {Distance} Friend.

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  1. All I can say is I wish we lived near each other so I could benefit from your stellar friendship skills! ;)

  2. KristinHillTaylor10/05/2013 9:49 AM

    Let's figure out a way to hang out anyway! I'm guessing you're a good friend to have near too!