New Year’s resolutions or goals tend to focus on yourself, or maybe your romantic relationship, but when it comes to our overall well-being and level of joy in life, our best friends are primary contributors. Shouldn’t our most important friendships be tended to as well as our self-care and our romances? Setting friendship goals for the New Year is one surefire way to deepen your bonds with your besties and ensure that these important relationships get the due attention they deserve!
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Why set friendship goals?
At first mention, the idea of setting goals for your friendship may seem unnecessary, forced, or too clingy, but hang with us for a minute! Your BFF has likely been by your side through it all! They have picked your drunk butt up out of the hallway, held your hair, put your heart back together after you know who, and much more. Sometimes they make you laugh until you cry. They know all your intimate secrets, and they will show up in the hard times, at 3 am, no questions asked, shovel in hand, if need be.
True friendship doesn’t come along very often, and these ride-or-die relationships are gold that should be treasured. However, life often gets in the way, especially as you get older and serious careers, spouses, and kiddos move into your timelines. To have lasting friendships when all these other responsibilities pile up, you have to put some forethought into spending time with good friends. It might take a calendar, some planning, and a list of achievable relationship goals to make it happen.
Let’s be honest. We have all done it. You say you’ll go out for drinks, or a Saturday shop fest next week, but life gets in the way, and before you know it, you haven’t seen your old friend in months. Now, true friends will usually pick up right where they left off as soon as they reunite. You may have that kind of bond with some of your closest buds, but it’s a fact that relationships that are given proper care are stronger. Period.
Friendship Goals for the New Year
The list is coming, but first, a few tips are to make your goals stick. Before you bombard your buddies with your curated list of best friend goals, let’s lay down some guidelines. New Year’s goals should be achievable, realistic, and agreed upon by both parties (if it requires their time). You can’t just slap your list of lofty goals on your buds and expect them to run off to Greece with you every other month, and then be hurt when they can’t follow through on your plans. That’s not realistic. Consider the lives and schedules of your friends when you make goals. Goals shouldn’t require huge amounts of time, money, or travel. In this list of friendship goals, we have focused on resolutions that are easy to achieve and don’t take too much time out of either of your schedules.
Put forth the effort.
Your list should mostly consist of goals that you can achieve on your own (or at least initiate). For instance, marking in your calendar to share a quick video chat with your long-distance bestie, once a month, is something you can do on your own. They’ll either send back a quick video or they won’t. Either way, you initiated contact and let them know you were thinking of them. Goal achieved!
Goals are varied by relationship.
Remember that you have many different types of friends, so your goal-setting will differ based on the personality, level of intimacy, and availability of your friends. Your ideas for getting to know a coworker better are going to differ from your goals to keep in contact with your lifelong bestie, so bear that in mind.
“A good friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have.”— Irish Proverb
Ultimate List of New Year’s Friendship Goals
We also want to get the most bang for your buck, so this list of goals focuses on easily achievable goals that deepen your relationships, produce new experiences, and form lasting memories. Let’s go!
1. I will listen mindfully.
Communication is the most important aspect of any relationship. Your close friends need to know that they can come to you with any problem, big or small and that you’ll show concern and listen. Don’t offer unsolicited advice. Don’t judge or be critical. While constructive criticism is sometimes necessary, during a crisis is probably not the right time. Listen to their words. Acknowledge their right to be excited, hurt, or angry, and then ask what you can do to help.
2. I will make contact regularly.
“Regular” contact is a wishy-washy term, but in this case, that is on purpose. What constitutes “regularly” will depend on the nature of your friendship. If we are talking about a casual acquaintance from high school that you keep in contact with, then you may set a goal to call them once or twice a year to catch up. If we are talking about your lifelong bestie, then perhaps once a week is more reasonable.
Contact can be a meet-up, but it could also be something as easy as sending them a funny social media video or a quick text to let them know you were thinking of them. Video chats are a great way to stay in contact. It’s more personal than text messaging and allows for better communication. If you can’t make time to have a sit down over Zoom, you can still use an app like Marco Polo or Snapchat to swap videos. Plus, you get to see their face, which is nice if your friendship is long-distance, and you don’t see them much. Whatever form of communication you choose, the important part is that you do it. Put it on the calendar, and follow through!
3. I will show gratitude.
We all tend to take our besties for granted, at least a little. In essence, we know how important they are to us, but it rarely gets stated. Find a way to show gratitude that is appropriate for your relationship. This may be a small gift with a sweet card, a hug, and “thanks for hanging with me tonight,” or a text thanking them for something specific they did. Displaying gratitude not only shows your friend that you appreciate them, but it also reminds you of just how lucky you’re to have strong friendships in your life. Grateful people are altogether happier people.
According to Harvard Health Beat, multiple research studies show that people who actively perform gratitude exercises, like consciously thanking those around them for specific acts or keeping a gratitude journal, have lower levels of depression and anxiety, feel overall better about life, have fewer visits to the doctor for physical illness, and can even lead to a healthier relationship with exercise.
4. I will be trustworthy.
If you want to be a good friend, then you have to keep your word. In our busy worlds, it’s so easy to forget an engagement, let laziness in, or allow your fatigue to convince you not to attend that dinner. It happens, but if you consistently back out on time with your friends, they will inevitably feel that you don’t value their friendship and will move on. While you don’t owe any allegiance to most acquaintances, protect your truly important friends by honoring your word. If you say you’ll be there, then be there. If your friend drops a bombshell secret on you, you keep it silent! The first people you go to when you have a problem are the ones that you can count on to show up, listen, and uphold your trust. Be one of those people for your friends.
5. I will initiate important conversations.
Some friendships are just meant to be surface level, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but with your life-longers make sure that as your friendship grows in years that it also grows in depth. It’s not too hard to do, check out our list of “150 Riveting and Relateable Road Trip Conversation Starters.” Sometimes, a curated icebreaker question can lead you down a road you never expected, and you might learn all kinds of new things about even your oldest friend.
For new friends, take some cues from “Best Getting to Know You Questions: Make Friends With Anyone.”
6. I will learn a new fact.
Pairing with the last goal, this is measurable and concise. Resolve to learn one new thing about each of your close friends, work companions, and important acquaintances this year. You can then use that knowledge to drive conversations that interest them, buy gifts they will love, or plan activities that revolve around their interests.
7. I will prioritize encouragement.
Mindfully listening, digging for facts, and initiating more difficult conversations allow you to speak encouragement into your friends’ dreams and plans. Who doesn’t need a little more encouragement in their life? Set a goal to be the kind of friend that people can bank on for a positive and uplifting word of encouragement.
8. We will do something new together this year.
Take a cue from Adventures From Scratch: Friends Edition and plan a spontaneous new adventure with your best friend this year. Our books are filled with scratch-off adventures expertly curated to deepen relationships and provide hilarious moments, but any new activity will do. Maybe you hit up the new restaurant in town, go skydiving together, or start a new hobby you’re both interested in.
9. We will spend a weekend away together.
Schedule a weekend to spend some time away with your BFF, or close friend group, at least once a year. Put it on the calendar early and make it a priority. Know that other meetings, gatherings, and responsibilities will try to creep in on it. Friends will try to back out, and you might even try it, but set your mind to go. These little getaways are refreshing to the soul and reinforce your already good friendships with more fond memories!
10. We will read each other’s favorite books.
There is no better way to get to know someone than partaking in their favorite things. Find out your friend’s favorite book, movie, or hobby. Ask what it’s about that item that draws them to it, and then devote yourself to experiencing it too. You might find a new love for yourself. If nothing else, you’ll have new conversation fodder, and they will be honored that you cared enough to give it a good try.
11. We will meet for drinks once a month.
Set a goal to do drinks after work with some friends from the office or that neighbor that lives so close, but you never hang out. A glass of wine or a coffee date doesn’t cost much, and it can take no longer than an hour. Just choose a cafe or chill bar where you can talk about life. It’s the perfect way to do a quick check-in on your friend and catch up without killing the budget or demanding too much from either side.
12. I will do something practical for my friend.
Almost everyone has some chores around the house that they could use some help with. Everybody wants to come to the cookout, but nobody wants to help mow the lawn so it’s ready. Offer to be the friend that helps with the dirty work. That might showing up early to help with cooking, offering to help with spring cleaning, babysitting their kiddo so they can have a date night, or picking up their grocery order for them. Taking a little off the plate of a busy friend can be just what they need to make it through the week without snapping!
13. We will do something active together.
Stressful lives need endorphins. Whip up some happy hormones with your friends by training for a half-marathon together, taking a swim, or meeting up for a sunset hike. Active time with friends provides some exercise, plenty of laughs (especially if it’s a new or difficult activity), and time for important conversations. You’ll leave feeling slightly sore but with a heart full of love and a clear mind.
For a unique friend’s activity to do outdoors, check out our list of interactive scavenger hunts! Our hunts are hilarious and vary from urban art hunts to bar crawls, to historical city tours. You’ll roam from spot to spot answering difficult trivia questions, competing in video and photo challenges, and sometimes competing against other teams from the same city for a high score on the leaderboard. No matter where you live, or what your interests are, there’s a hunt for you on the Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunt App!
14. I will find out their love language.
The Five Love Languages is an oldie but a goodie. The book was written primarily for romantic partnerships, but the concepts can easily transfer to friendships. The basic premise is that every person feels love differently. We, in turn, tend to give love in the way that we feel it best, but that might not be the way our loved one best receives it.
For instance, let’s say your love language is physical touch. That means you feel the most loved when someone hugs you or holds your hand, rubs your feet, etc. You’ll probably try to show your love to others this way, but if your bestie’s love language is quality time, then they are not going to feel loved and appreciated by your constant hugs. They want quality conversations and time devoted to them to feel loved.
Find out what your friend’s love language is and try to show your appreciation in a way that will benefit them the most. You can take the quiz together online and find out your love language as well as that of your close friends. Showing love in this way may not be as gratifying for you at first, but seeing how much your friend appreciates your effort will swiftly change that.
15. I will gift thoughtfully.
Giving gifts is a common way to celebrate special occasions and show our love and affection. If you choose to give gifts to your friends, then give them thoughtfully. Surprise your buddy with their favorite coffee, for no reason, or send them an invite for a joint activity on you. Remember when you give to think about what your friend would want, not what you would like to have. Gifts don’t need to be large or expensive. Being thoughtful is much more important, especially if your BFF’s love language is receiving gifts.
16. I will host a game night twice a year.
Game nights are a simple way to gather your crew for a night of hilarious antics, good food, and easy fun. Plan a whole meal, or just grab some game-food snacks like chips and salsa and a few cookies. Buy some wine or beer, or make your favorite cocktails. Plan a few board games or classic party games to get the conversation and laughter started, and sit back and enjoy quality time with your besties. Put your event on the calendar early and encourage friends to mark off the day and stick to it. To help people remember, send out a reminder the week before. It also helps to have each attendee be responsible for a food item or bringing a game. This gives them a stake in the planning process and makes it more likely that they will follow through and show up.
Check out our list of “40 Fun Board Games to Play With Friends.” If you don’t have a game closet and don’t want to purchase a ton of activities, then take a cue from “25 Fantastic Party Games to Play With Friends.” This list has more DIY or simple card games that you or your besties probably already have the supplies for.
New Year—Better Relationships
Focusing on bettering your friendships is an honorable New Year’s resolution. By instituting a few of these goals, we do not doubt that you’ll notice a deepening in your friendships and a change in yourself. Thinking about others, and placing a high priority on their needs, is one of the fastest ways to learn about yourself and experience personal growth. Try it out this year, and let us know your experiences in the comments!
Have you ever created friendship goals before? If so, what have been some of your most successful goals?
Christmas is coming, and we know you want your bash to stand out! Take a few tips from “How to Host a Festive and Fun Family Holiday Gathering.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Friendship goals are actions that you set to deepen your relationship with friends. Setting achievable goals and formulating a plan helps you accomplish your goals for your social life.
For stronger friendships this year, make plans to actively show gratitude, host a game night, meet a friend’s practical needs, listen mindfully, and make regular contact.
Check out Adventure From Scratch: Friends Edition. This handy book is filled with scratch-off adventures expertly created to deepen friendships, provide laughter, and add a little fun to your get-together!