In the era of social media connections, it’s sometimes easy to forget that friendships need real-world connections too. Read on for some tips to strengthen and deepen your friendships.
We have our Facebook, our Instagram, our Twitter and our Snapchat, and many more ways to connect online. Social media is giving us the impression that we are friends with everyone, but look back at this year; how many have you shared a meal with, met for a coffee, laughed with, cried with, shared adventures with or simply sat in comfortable silence with? If the figure is lower than you would like it to be, perhaps it’s time to bring your friendships back into the real world!
Many of our guests at Forest Holidays are here with friends, whether it’s an annual get together for old college friends, two families sharing a cabin, or groups of walkers united in their love of the great outdoors. Booking a Forest Holiday together could be the start of your renewed friendship.
In the meantime, here are five simple things you can do to strengthen and protect your friendships.
1. Diarise your friendships
It sounds a bit clinical for something as natural as friendship doesn’t it? But you need to get your diary out, circle a date and stick to it. If you don’t, weeks go by, then months and, before you know it, years. If you only meet once a year in a cabin in the woods, it will keep your friendship alive. Agree the dates, and book the holiday, that way it’s more likely to happen!
2. Be there in good times and bad
Many people tell stories of how they knew who their true friends were only when they hit hard times. It’s a real test of friendship to be there when the going gets tough. But it is also important to plan good times together. Sharing joy as well as sorrow creates bonds that are hard to break. We love to see people come together for birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations. With a few days together - and away from the world - bonds are renewed and memories are made.
3. Don’t use social media as a substitute for friendship
You know their children’s names and ages, that they got a new puppy and that they went to Disneyland last year. They know you have taken up yoga and that you are looking for a reliable electrician for your kitchen extension.
Do you have friends like this? People who you haven’t seen or spoken to for years, but who you are ‘in touch with’ through social media? If you have online friends, ask yourself if they are really friends and, more importantly, if you want them to be. If you do – pick up the phone, meet up for coffee, it’s a simple gesture but will rekindle your friendship in the real world.
4. Do use technology to keep in touch
Friendship is not all about the big events, the holidays and high days, the parties and adventures. It’s about the day-to-day too and this is where technology works for us. In between your real-world catch-ups, text your friends, comment on their posts, tag them and share your stories with them on social media. Call them if you haven’t heard from them for a while and Skype them if they are far away. It sounds simple, but you have to actually do it.
5. Spend time together
When you look back at how your early adult friendships were formed, it’s all about spending time together – summer drinks in the beer garden of a pub, the time you fell out of your canoe on a river trip, that sunny day on the beach in Cornwall.
Get away with Forest Holidays to create new memories and strengthen your friendships. The beaches in Cornwall, near to Deerpark are just the place for joint family holidays – with enough people for a game of beach cricket. At Sherwood Forest, challenge your mates to an archery tournament, and at Forest of Dean, escape with your oldest friends for a canoe trip on the River Wye - and stay afloat this time.
Here at Forest Holidays, one of our true pleasures is seeing groups of friends enjoy the luxury of time together. Our cabins can sleep up to 8 people and our Golden Oak Treehouse sleeps up to 10. You can also book cabins close together for larger groups.
If you are lucky enough to be retired or have work holidays to use up, come for a midweek break, when local attractions are quieter. If weekends are your only chance to get away, what better way to spend them than in the company of friends?
There is something about the forest setting that envelopes you and allows you to switch off from the outside world, focussing on being with the people who make you happy. You can head out for adventures, from horse-riding at Thorpe Forest in Norfolk to Gorge Walking at Beddgelert in Snowdonia or Strathyre in Scotland. You can slow down too and stargaze from a hot tub at Cropton, or put the world to rights as you stare across the loch at Ardgartan Argyll.
Whatever you do, you do it with your friends so that they are your friends forever.