‘Friendship guilt’ and how to overcome it

Ever had friendship guilt?

When distance, work and a generally busy lifestyle gets in the way of keeping in touch with people you care about, it’s easy to feel “friendship guilt.”

Perhaps you haven’t been in contact for a long time and feel guilty for not being there. According to research, showing empathy and keeping in touch with friends makes us happier and it’s often the happiest people that are the most sociable.

However, in a new era of technology, our lives can consist of social media and texting which is ironically making us feel lonely and more isolated than ever before. It’s crucial to remember that we can show someone we care in more special ways that just sending a quick text.

We worked with the wellbeing experts at CABA who identified 5 ways that will help you stay in contact and show your friends and family how much you really care.

1. Call them

Take advantage of the quick 5 minutes you have waiting in line at the supermarket checkout or whilst on the commute back from work. Spot the opportunities when they arise rather than scrolling through social media and take this opportunity to give them a quick call to let them know you’re thinking of them. Facebook now allows you to monitor how much time you’re spending on the app, so if you’re one of those that has racked up many hours, try using this time to call a friend instead.

2. Send them a care package

Why not go back to basics and send something in the post. A study by Royal Mail found that people placed more value on things they can touch. Send your friends a small care package, it doesn’t have to cost a lot, you could just send them their favorite sweets or chocolate.

3. Send them a picture

Send them a picture to remind them of a memory or a time you spent together. To make it extra special, why not put it in a frame? Sending it via the post with a little message is far nicer than just tagging someone in a photo on Facebook. Reminding them of the good times you shared together will put a smile on their face and shows them you’re thinking of them.

4. Send a funny video

Ok, so you do need your phone or laptop for this one, but why not send a funny video at a time when they need you most? Whether it’s a video of babies, clumsy moments or dogs just being dogs, it will help brighten their day.

5. Be present

Regardless of how busy you are, you should always try to find a way to be there when it really counts or when they least expect it. For example, do they have a professional or personal achievement that’s being celebrated and could you go along? If your friend is going through a rough patch, offer to go to the cinema or have a movie night at home with them.

It’s the thought that counts so it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money and remember, you get out what you put in. You should try to show your appreciation in a way that’s unique to you and your friend. Reminding your friends that you’re thinking about them helps to maintain that special bond and keeps you connected.

This article first appeared on Your Coffee Break.