This week on The Gottman Relationship Blog, we’ve discussed friendship in the context of self care, first sharing Dr. Gottman’s guide to recognizing bids, and second by providing you with a list of ways to strengthen friendships with a little TLC! Today, as promised, we add a list of concrete ways to connect with your friends, written by Dr. Gottman himself:

Activities To Build Connection:

  • Visit one another.
  • Commute.
  • Exercise.
  • Volunteer.
  • Share gossip, jokes, and news via email.
  • Phone one another often.
  • Form a group of friends who share a common hobby or interest, like a book club. Meet regularly. When you can’t get together, discuss your common interests online.
  • Confide in one another.
  • Keep each other’s secrets.
  • Swap baby-sitting, pet-sitting, house-sitting.
  • Trade big favors like helping one another paint the house, move residences, or build a deck.
  • Celebrate one another’s successes.
  • Host a party for a mutual friend.
  • Share hugs, handshakes, pats on the back.
  • Cry together.
  • Be there for the big events in one another’s lives –kids’ weddings, parents’ funerals, serious illnesses.
  • Collaborate on a project.
  • Show one another your baby pictures.
  • Pray or meditate together.

Apply ideas from this list to your own life, and enjoy the results. Give your friendships attention and care, and watch them flourish. In the spirit of self care, we advise you to keep Dr. Gottman’s perspective in mind:

No single relationship can meet all your emotional needs. In fact, it would be a mistake to invest that much expectation into any relationship, including marriage. It’s better instead to focus on building congenial bonds with a variety of people who bring different gifts into your life. That way, you can revel in your friendships with a diverse group of friends!

More in The Archives
Weekend Homework Assignment: Connect With Your Friends

Ellie Lisitsa is a staff writer at The Gottman Institute and a regular contributor to The Gottman Relationship Blog. Ellie is pursuing her B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis on Cognitive Dissonance at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.