Etiquette of Spending Time with Friends | Alyssa J Freitas: Etiquette of Spending Time with Friends

May 15, 2019

Etiquette of Spending Time with Friends

A while back I wrote a blog post about the etiquette of going out with friends. I covered points like how to choose where to go and how to split the bill, and today I want to delve into the soft skills aspect of spending time with friends.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Make sure you are treating your friends well with these etiquette tips in mind
As we get older, we have less and less time to dedicate to friendships. Not because they aren’t incredibly important or valuable, but because we have careers to grow and romantic relationships to nurture and family to spend our time with. Therefore, it is even more essential to bring your best self to all of your interactions with friends. Whether it’s phone calls or (how exciting!) in person meet ups, you have an obligation to yourself and to your friend to make your time well spent!

Focus 

In my post on going out with friends I make brief mention of staying off your phone. Let me make a bigger deal of it here: AVOID USING YOUR PHONE. Normally I don’t use all caps because Joe once said to me that good writers don’t need to rely on punctuation like that to make a point, but I want to doubly make my point, so there. Unless you’re showing pictures to accompany the story you’re telling or looking up a resource you want to recommend, please respect each other enough to really focus on your conversation.

I use the word “focus” instead of just the phrase “stay off your phone” because there can be distractions that aren’t electronic. If you’re catching up with a friend on the phone and want to multitask (do the dishes, dust, pretty much mindless cleaning is the only exception here), make sure to give the person the heads up and ensure that it doesn’t take away from you listening to the conversation.

Ask questions (and follow up questions) 

When you’re having a conversation, make sure to split time equally as best as you can. If you find yourself an hour in to a lunch date and you’ve yet to ask the other person about a single thing that’s going on with them, you’re not on the right track. That’s not to say that sometimes a conversation won’t be more about one person than the other (things go on in people’s lives that need attention!), but if this is happening on a consistent basis you’re not building or developing your relationship.

I mention follow up questions because this is what shows you truly care. Anyone can ask “how are things going at work?” Great friends will listen to your response carefully and then ask a question based on what you said and progress the conversation to a deeper level. Getting past the surface level catch up is key.

Also, once you learn more about the things that are important to your friend (her upcoming job interview, the party she's planning for her mother), check in with her when it happens! Remembering what a friend tells you and following up afterwards shows how well you listen and how much you care. I unabashedly put my friends' important events into my calendar so I am sure to send them a text or make a quick call.

Smile, laugh, have fun! 

Try to do things and talk about things that are amusing and up-lifting. While friends are a great support and sounding board, it’s not fair or healthy to make every interaction a complaining/vent session. A friend is a person you should have fun with and leave each other’s company happier than before. Do activities that are enjoyable (if you’re competitive, go to an arcade, if you’re creative, take photos together) and make an effort to have at least one solid belly laugh per hang out.

With these foundational skills in mind, you can make the most of your time with friends and have a greater appreciation for your friendship (that’s another one! Thank your friends often for all they do for you and tell them how much they mean to you).

How do you make sure you’re cultivating your relationships and keeping etiquette in mind?

Check out more friendship posts here:
How to Stay Close with Friends Post-Grad
3 Ways to Strengthen Your Friendships

-AJF
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