When I was younger and had fewer life responsibilities, my friendships meant everything to me.

I was with my girls all the time. They were the center of my life. We partied, shared our hopes and dreams for the future, and prepared to take on the world.

It was all about us.

At my lowest, they proved to be nothing short of amazing.

Now as thirty-something single mother of one, I’m lucky if I see any of my friends more than once a month or talk to them once a week.

The dynamic of my friendships have drastically changed. Priorities shifted; life is happening and it’s moving fast.

I recently decided to focus more on my friendships because I felt disconnected. I missed the me that I am when I’m with them; and cherish the closeness and loyalty among my girlfriends.

I never want to completely lose that.

Friends, jobs, and men have come and gone, but my devoted friends have been tried and true. It’s important not to take the people we love for granted, and to appreciate them. Friendships like any other relationship require attention and effort.

Here are 3 ways to nurture your friendships…starting today:

1. Communicate

Lack of communication is the kiss of death for any relationship.

When you go too long without checking in, you miss out on what has taken place in their lives, and the relationship often fades into the background. I am often amazed at how much I miss in my friends’ lives if we haven’t communicated in even a few weeks.

Talk on the phone, Skype, email, whatever works. Connecting on social media is a great way to stay in touch as well. Communication probably won’t be as frequent, but it’s necessary.

2. Spend Quality Time

People are more open and receptive in person. I can tell what my friends are thinking by their expressions and body language.

We are in sync that way. A simple look and we are laughing until we cry.

Plan weekly or monthly ladies’ nights, a yearly girl’s trip, lunch or dinner date, or even a couples outing. If you live nearby, have game nights or partake in activities that will be fun for single or married friends and their families. If you live a distance away, road trip it every now and then.

Being in the presence of a great friend does wonders for the soul.

When true friends get together, it’s like they never missed a beat.

3. Be Thoughtful

Send cards or gifts for special occasions, support their dreams, or suggest movies and books that they may enjoy.

If they have a hobby that you can partake in, do so. Take an interest in their children and husbands activities and accomplishments. Pay attention to them when you can.

One of my friends religiously emails me job leads, since I am pursuing a career change. Another comes from out of state to my son’s birthday parties no matter what. And a third girlfriend makes it her business to contact me if I’m in a bad headspace and will drop by if she senses that I am isolating myself.

My friends show me that my son and I are important to them and I do the same.

Dedicated friends are our anchors. They know us in a way that no one else does. They are the keepers of our secrets and a connection to our past. It would be a shame to lose them.

Be positive, a rock not a hard place, their biggest cheerleader, and a listening ear. Life can be amazing and it can be tough, but it will always be better with true friends.

A good friend is hard to find and almost impossible to replace.

If you have one, keep them. I adore mine. They have always accepted me for who I am while also encouraging me to elevate.

Soul mates are not only our significant others, but our friends as well.

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Lakeesha L. Thomas
Lakeesha L. Thomas, a native of New Brunswick, New Jersey, is the author of “Don’t Be a Baby Mama Be a Mother”, freelance writer, poet, speaker, entrepreneur, and proud single mother to an incredible little boy. She holds a B.A. in Africana Studies with a minor in Psychology, from Rutgers University, Douglass College.