9 New Year’s Resolutions That’ll Make You a Better Friend

written by LEXI WILLIAMS
Source: @ron-lach | Pexels
Source: @ron-lach | Pexels

2023 was the year we swapped bracelets at Taylor Swift concerts, called out “Hi Barbie” when someone was wearing a cute outfit, and celebrated the art of being a girl’s girl. This year, I’m hoping to keep that positive, loving energy going by declaring 2024 as “The Year of Friendship” and setting New Year’s resolutions that’ll help me become a better friend.

But since a New Year’s resolution to “Be a better friend” is broad and difficult to measure, I’ve broken that big goal down into nine smaller goals that will not only help me become a better friend but also, in a lot of ways, become a happier person with a fun-loving and supportive group of girlfriends by my side.

These New Year’s resolutions are attainable, so it won’t be difficult to add to any existing list of New Year’s resolutions you may already be working toward. Or if you thought you’d skip out on the whole New Year’s resolutions thing altogether this year (I get it—typical resolutions can be daunting), you can still make a big difference in the quality of your friendships by keeping these intentions top of mind. If you’d like to join me in “The Year of Friendship,” feel free to tackle as many of the nine New Year’s resolutions ahead that speak to you.

1. Be open to spontaneity

Life is full of unexpected moments, and being open to day-of plans or impromptu hangouts can lead to some of the most memorable experiences in your friendship. Whether you’re invited on a last-minute road trip or your friend texted you to make sudden dinner plans, try being flexible and saying “yes” to the unexpected. In the new year especially, it’s so easy to want to follow our calendar and plans to a T, but it’s important to be open-minded and flexible. After all, you never know what bonding moment or inside joke will come out of it that will stick with you and your friends forever.

2. Learn how to say “no” with grace

Of course, you can’t say yes to everything. While being flexible is a great quality, there’s a lot of power in being able to say no, so it’s equally important to recognize your boundaries and prioritize yourself when you need to. Doing so will not only preserve your time and energy but will also help to ensure that you’re giving your all to the commitments you make.

With that said, there’s a big difference between saying no and being rude (AKA canceling last minute or coming up with a lame excuse). If you’re able to share your reason for declining, feel free to do so, but if you’d prefer not to explain yourself, a simple and polite, “Thank you for thinking of me, but I won’t be able to make it,” will suffice.

3. Don’t take offense when friends don’t text back right away

Listen, some of us aren’t great texters, but that doesn’t mean we’re bad friends. I know we live in a time when we can see our texts not just on our phones but also on our computers, watches, and more, but that doesn’t mean we’re always able to (or want to) respond right away. Sometimes, life gets in the way, and messages go unanswered, and it’s not personal. Instead of jumping to conclusions or feeling neglected, give your friends the benefit of the doubt. Remember, a delayed response doesn’t diminish the value of your friendship—good friends will always get back to you eventually!

4. Set aside time to connect with a friend once a week

In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to let weeks pass without having any meaningful interactions with your friends. It happens! But if you’ve found yourself constantly asking your besties, “So, what’d I miss?” every few months, you might want to get into a habit of checking in more often. Whether you have time for dinner, a cup of coffee in person, or just a quick 10-minute phone call while you run an errand, making an effort to catch up once a week will demonstrate your commitment to nurturing your friendship and will help you both feel in the loop with one another’s lives.

Source: @cottonbro | Pexels

5. Get to know your friends’ friends

Not only does getting to know your bestie’s other friends show them you’re interested in their life, but you also get the bonus of expanding your social circle with more friends of your own! In many cases, if your friend loves these people, you will as well—and even if you don’t connect on a deep level, you’ll at least have more people to talk to at group gatherings. This can help you personally, in your friendships, and maybe even in your career! Networking in the new year as an added bonus? Sign me up.

6. Ask more (or better!) questions

Surface-level small talk can only sustain a friendship for so long. If you want to strengthen your bond with an old friend or form a deep-lasting relationship with a new one, start by showing genuine interest in their life. Ask about their passions, their dreams, what’s challenging them, and what they’re afraid of. Thoughtful questions don’t just show you care; they encourage open and meaningful conversations, deepening your understanding of each other and allowing you to support your friend the best way you can.

7. Perfect the apology

There’s no getting around it: Everyone messes up occasionally. Maybe you forgot an important lunch date or said something that hurt a friend’s feelings. (We’ve all been there!) The best way to get past it is by acknowledging your errors, taking responsibility, and demonstrating a genuine commitment to make things right.

The key to a good apology is to be specific about what you’re apologizing for and make it clear you understand why you were in the wrong. Try not to make excuses for your actions, and remember that your friend isn’t required to accept your apology on the spot. If they need time to heal, let them have it.

8. Practice gratitude

How often do you tell your friends just how much they mean to you? If you’re not usually the lovey-dovey type, it may feel awkward at first to declare your affection for them. But you don’t need to make a grand gesture—a simple, heartfelt “Hey, I really appreciate you” can go a long way in showing them how grateful you are to have them in your life.

If you want to take your resolution of practicing gratitude further, you can set a goal to journal about your gratitude or listen to some gratitude meditation sessions on YouTube. When you regularly acknowledge the positive aspects of your life, you’ll be surprised how the ways you perceive and approach your relationships may be transformed.

9. Brag about your friends

Whenever you get the chance, share your admiration for your friends’ kindness, accomplishments, and other admirable qualities with others. Singing our friends’ praises (even in their absence) not only strengthens your bond with that friend but also signals to those you’re talking to that you’re a supportive, uplifting person, and would make a great friend to them, too. Hey, you might even start a ripple effect of spreading positivity within your friend groups!