FamilyFriendship

8 Steps For Taking Your Friendships To The Next Level

Imagine this scenario:

It’s a frigid winter night and you’re quickly walking up the stairs to your apartment. You forgot your coat, go figure. On top of that, you’re so cold you can barely feel your nose. Relief is just behind your apartment door when suddenly you realize you lost your keys. You’re stranded, and you need to call someone.

In your moment of crisis, who would you call?

In this answer lies your truest of friends.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all my friends. From the ones I met in college to the friends I know through previous jobs to the strangers I’ve befriended on a Saturday morning at the farmers market while we reveled in our love for handcrafted soaps.

But then there are the friends that I’d do anything for. They’re the ones that know my deepest, darkest secrets. The friends that make me laugh so hard I worry I might pee my pants. The people I would write down as my emergency contact. We all know how those kinds of friendships are.

And now that I’m encroaching upon my 30s, I’ve realized that deeper friendships don’t just happen anymore. And we sometimes grow out of old friendships or people sadly move away.

So how do we create more of those pee-your-pants-laughing kind of friendships?

Well, like a romantic relationship, it takes effort. Deeper connections don’t just happen anymore—you have to foster and grow them like a tiny precious friendship baby.

But the good news is that the effort is well worth it. It’s part of the human condition to crave deep connections, and with some intentional care, you can watch your everyday friendships blossom into something more.

1. Show Up As Your Authentic Self

You know what people can detect pretty well? Someone putting up a front. I’m not saying you’re a bad person for doing so, but I am saying it’s not conducive for forming a deep connection with another person.

There’s nothing more off-putting than feeling like someone isn’t being genuine. If you want to create a deeper friendship, you’re going to have to start by being authentically you with the person.

2. Figure Out What You Have In Common

What better level to connect on than your mutual love for early ‘90s soft grunge bands?

Bonding over a mutual interest is a surefire way to level up your friendship. You can enjoy those activities together or find events based on your shared interests.

So go ahead and plan that night out listening to Nirvana cover bands at the local dive bar.

3. Hang Out One On One

Implementing all the steps listed here will be hard when you have Steve from your office continually butting in to tell you a cringe-worthy joke you’ve heard five times already.

If you’re always in a group setting with your next-level-friend-to-be, try asking them to hang out alone. When you spend time one on one, you’re able to have less guarded conversations and get to know the other person better.

4. Be Vulnerable

I’m not saying that you need to break down crying every time you hang out, but opening up about your struggles will exponentially deepen a friendship. Humans like to feel understood. That understanding happens in nuanced experiences that we all go through but are scared to share.

I know being vulnerable is scary. But opening up to another person is going to be the differentiating factor between acquaintances and emergency contact kind of friends.

5. Ask More About Their Life

Everyone loves to talk about themselves. It’s just part of human nature. When you start to ask questions about someone, it makes them feel special and like you care. With that being said try to actually care as well—we’re not in this game to con people.

To do that, make sure you genuinely listen. Engage in the conversation and get to know your BFF-in-the-making better.

6. Prioritize The Friendship

There’s nothing worse than a friend that cares more about work or their significant other than their actual friends. Don’t be that person.

Make the time for your friendships. Just like you block out time for your pilates classes or date night, create non-negotiable time for your friends. Set solid plans and don’t cancel them.

7. Keep In Contact

Hanging out once with someone does not a next-level friendship make. Especially not in today’s age where people are distracted and quickly forget each other.

Stay in contact with the person in between seeing them. Ask how their work meeting went, talk about that less than stellar guy their dating, or send them dog memes you come across on Facebook. Whatever it may be, don’t let the friendship flame dwindle.

8. Go On An Adventure

A last-ditch effort to quickly take your friendship to the next level is going on an adventure. Nothing strengthens a bond like getting out of your comfort zone or even getting your adrenaline pumping.

Go for a hike, take a road trip, or explore a new part of the city together. Create a Thelma and Louise experience, minus the murder and driving off a cliff—though I’m sure that would create a deeper bond too. TC mark

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Writer and advice columnist for relationships Follow Kirstie on Instagram or read more articles from Kirstie on Thought Catalog.