12 Special Ways To Show Your Friends How Thankful You Are For Them
What About Your Friends?

12 Special Ways To Show Your Friends How Thankful You Are For Them

There are actually a few reasons why I thought it was important to pen this piece. One reason is that, reportedly, 55 percent of Americans feel especially lonely during this time of the year. Another reason is that some folks aren’t particularly close to their blood relatives yet they do have, what I call, “love family” — and oftentimes, it’s their friends. And then there’s the fact that, when it comes to keeping any type of close emotional dynamic healthy and thriving, it’s essential that gratitude is shown.

And so, whether you’re someone who’s already wanting to hurry up and get the holidays over and done with, you are going to be doing Friendsgiving instead of Thanksgiving this year, or a Hallmark (holiday) movie has put you in the mood to show some love and heartfelt appreciation for a couple of your own homies, here are 12 ways that you can do just that.

After all, as late author Lois Wyse once said, "A good friend is a connection to life — a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world." And if that ain’t something to intentionally celebrate this season…what is, sis?

1. Handwrite a “Love” Letter

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My dad had impeccable handwriting. My mom’s handwriting? Eh, not so much. I’m somewhere in between yet, because I spend more time hammering away on this keyboard of mine, I don’t realize how out of practice I am on the handwriting tip until I’m filling out a form or addressing an envelope or package. What in the world? It’s for that reason alone that I will try and write at least a couple of letters a year and, whenever I do, the person on the receiving end is always hella surprised and super appreciative — not just because of the words but the effort that was put behind them.

So yeah, if you’ve got a few friends who really held you down this year, get some really nice stationary, write them your own version of a friend-themed love letter, and mail it. Everyone likes something other than bills in their mailbox. No debates there, right?

2. Make a Gift That Speaks Their Love Language

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Words of affirmation. Quality time. Physical touch. Acts of service. Gifts. At this point, who doesn’t know what the five love languages are? And even though we mostly discuss them in the context of romantic relationships, they can — and should — be applied across the board (check out “This Is How To Apply Love Languages To Your Friendships”).

When it comes to your friends, something else that you can do is make them a present; something that represents their primary love language. If it’s words of affirmation, frame a poster that has adjectives that describe them. If it’s quality time, make them some coupons with “friend dates” that are already planned out. If it’s physical touch, make them a pampering basket that they can use on themselves or with their partner. If it’s acts of service, make them their favorite meal. A gift? Something in their favorite color would be cool.

No one said that the gift has to look like it came straight out of the mall; the mere fact that you took out the time to create it yourself? That already sends the message that you are truly grateful to have them in your life.

3. Pre-Plan a One-on-One Date

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My friends and I go out on dates with one another, fairly frequently. And because all of our lives are so hectic, it automatically requires some pre-planning. Since the “arrangement” is usually that I will pick up the tab, then they will, and so on (back and forth, I mean), whoever pays lets the other person pick (yes, it’s literally a date). It’s fun this way because sometimes we find ourselves introducing the other to a new restaurant, venue, or experience. That said, when was the last time that you pre-planned a super thoughtful date for a friend of yours? Especially if it’s someone who is single during this time of the year, it can take some of the “Where’s my boo (or cuffing partner)? I hate it here!” edge off.

4. Send Them a Customized Care Package

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Once upon a time, Today.com published an article entitled, “Long-distance friendships take work: Here’s how I’ve had success.” It was basically one woman’s take on the blessings and challenges that came with trying to maintain a close connection with her bestie who lives far away from her. Honestly, my life is so full (along with the lives of my friends) that I oftentimes have to put just about as much effort into seeing the ones who live in the same city as I do as the ones who don’t.

When it comes to my long-distance friends, though, I will sometimes put a care package together and shoot it their way. Think about things that are your friend’s favorites and send them. It doesn’t have to be super deep. This time of year, their favorite cookies, some slippers, and a customized coffee mug are beyond sweet.

5. Plan a Sleepover

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Speaking of the folks who live close by, ain’t nothin’ wrong with hosting a sleepover. For instance, if some of you aren’t planning on being with family this Thanksgiving and you’re gonna go the Friendsgiving route instead, who said that everyone has to call it a day (or night) after dinner? Pull out some throwback movies (chances are, they’re on Tubi, chile) along with a playlist from when everyone was in college, put some holiday cocktails together, and hang out all night long.

Sleeping in and having breakfast together sure beats the hell outta all of that traffic on Black Friday. Or, if you are going to be with your DNA, push it ‘til the weekend. After all, sleepovers don’t have an age cap. Why should children have all of the fun?

6. Have Flowers or Lunch Delivered to Their Job

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One time, while I was having the worst day ever (no exaggeration), a friend of mine, without even letting me know that she was going to do it, had lunch and dinner delivered to me (and she was out of state). That was a few years ago now and it’s still a favorite memory of mine when it comes to my friends and their thoughtful gestures. That said, consider having some flowers or lunch delivered to one of your friends soon. Add a note that says something along the lines of, “No reason. You’re just awesome.” It’ll go a really, REALLY long way. Trust me.

7. Frame a Photo of a Favorite Memory of the Two of You

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Last year, someone posted a tweet (chile, it’s always gonna be Twitter to me) that simply said “true best friends have no pictures together.” It received 99K likes and 30K retweets. When I stopped to think about it, only one person in my innermost circle did I have a picture of us together in it. WILD. One day, I’ll have to unpack the subconscious psychology behind it all. For now, I’ll just say that time is precious and memories are invaluable. Not only that but it’s not like you’ve got to schedule an appointment with a professional photographer to take a shot; you’ve got your smartphone.

So, the next time you’re out with your friends, take a quick picture. Then blow it up, make some copies, frame them, and give them to your friend (or friends). I’m preaching to the choir when I say that it really would be a shame to go throughout your entire life with no evidence of your connections with other people other than the thoughts that are in your head.

8. Create a “Thank You” Jar

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You’d be amazed how many studies exist out here. For instance, did you know that most Americans ONLY SAY “thank you,” somewhere around 15 percent of the time that a request is granted to them (that’s pretty pitiful) or that articles like “People rarely say thank you when others help them out, scientists say” exist? Maybe it’s just me but I think it’s kinda wild that the very thing that we will tell our children is rude not to do (to say “please” and “thank you”), we pretty much suck at ourselves (one could call that “hypocritical,” right?). And when people feel taken for granted, that is a surefire way for them to start tapping out of their relationship with you — friends included.

Just in case you are someone whose heart is in the right place yet you’re not exactly big on words, something that you can do is create a thank you jar. Buy some big mason jars and some colored construction paper. Cut the paper into strips and write down different things about your friend(s) that you are thankful for. That way, you’ve put your gratitude on paper (literally) and they can refer to how you feel about them, whenever they feel like it.

9. Dedicate a Blog (or Vlog) Post to Them

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When it comes to this particular suggestion, I’ve gotta admit that sometimes, when I see people do this, it seems more like “performative affection” than anything. What I mean by that is, if you’re out here talking more about yourself more than the person you claim to be affirming or celebrating, that looks a lot like humble pride (eye roll). For everyone else, though, in a world that is filled with so much gossip, negativity, and cynicism, it can be truly refreshing for folks to dedicate a blog or vlog to nothing but praising another person for their character, their commitment, and their friendship. You know what they say — the internet is written in pen not pencil (some folks could stand to remember that), so it’s a simple gesture that could go a really long way and will definitely last a really long time.

10. Do Something for Them That They “Hate”

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Does one of your friends hate doing laundry? Why not do it for them? Have you hopped into their car lately and it looks like a pocketbook (some of y’all will catch that later)? Get it detailed out of the blue. Is their favorite health food store closer to you than it is to them? Why not pick some stuff up for them and bring it to their house? I’m gonna tell you, out the gate, doing things for others that they need but don’t like to do? It’s more on the practical side of showing gratitude yet oftentimes, that’s what warms hearts up the most.

11. Treat Them to Their Favorite Spot

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Who said that spontaneity only had to be reserved for romance? Hell, if you really stop to think about it, some of your friends have outlasted a lot of your romantic, umm, situations (LOL), so why not show them how freakin’ grateful you are that they did? Out of the blue, hit them up and tell them that you wanna take them somewhere…then actually do it. I recently did it for a friend of mine and they were floored — one, that I remembered them casually mentioning the place before, and two, that I was willing to pay the expense in order to do it. Again, it shouldn’t only be folks in a couple’s dynamic who should feel adored and cherished. Everyone who is loved, in some way, should.

12. Jot Down 10-20 Reasons Why Their Friendship Means So Much to You

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It’s one thing to be grateful for a person; it’s another thing to be able to clearly articulate why you are so thankful for the kind of friendship that you have with them. So, to close this out, purchase them a journal for the new year and, in the front of it, write down 10-20 reasons why their friendship is so invaluable to you. It doesn’t have to be lengthy; it can literally be bullet points or phrases. It’s a wonderful gift, a very thoughtful gesture, and a beautiful way to express gratitude for any kind of friend that you have. Give thanks, y’all. GIVE THANKS.

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