29 Ways to Be a Better, More Caring Friend

29 tiny, cringe-free ways to be a kinder, better friend:

#1 Whip up her favorite meal, just because. It doesn’t need to be a special occasion.

#2 Print out her Instagram feed and pen handwritten notes on the back of each photo.

#3 Call, don’t text. How often do you actually chat to friends over the phone? Before starting your regular online back-and-forth, pick up the phone.

#4 Answer her calls, every time. We’re all guilty of screening calls, even from the people we love. Make a habit of always picking up, even if it’s just to let her know you’ll call back later.

#5 Offer to combine your washing. If you live together, something as simple as offering to add her laundry to your load is a little gesture that goes a long way.

#6 Go on a friend date. It can be easy to lose touch with friends when we have different social groups. Invite your best friend to after-work drinks with your colleagues or a dinner party with people she may not know.

#7 Stop giving advice. (Unless you’re asked.)

#8 Change your plans. If she’s going through a tough time at work, show you prioritize her by changing your plans to drop by with a bottle of wine.

#9 Say thank you. How often do you actually thank your friends for being there for you? It doesn’t have to be corny, but saying those simple words could make a big difference.

#10 Do a random act of kindness. If you see something your friend would love, surprise her. No matter how big or small, the gesture speaks volumes.

#11 Let her talk first. If you often find yourself launching into a spiel about your work frustrations or dating life, pause. Try letting her speak first, and hone those long-forgotten listening skills.

#12 Go to an appointment she’s dreading. Don’t make a big deal out of it. One of the best ways to support a friend is to just show up.

#13 Celebrate together. Whether she got a promotion or finished a grueling week of work, celebrate. It doesn’t have to be big. Recognizing success sets a great foundation for your relationship.

#14 Pay for coffee every now and then for no particular reason.

#15 Send a nostalgic message. Saw a hilarious clip from a TV show you used to watch together? Text her. Being reminded that someone is thinking of you is an instant mood-lifter.

#16 Remember the names of her co-workers. She might confide in you about friends or co-workers all the time, but how many of their names can you actually remember? Make an effort to recall the names of other people in her life.

#17 Offer positive feedback. If someone said something nice about her, pass the message on.

#18 Loan a book you love, and bookmark the best bits to chat about later.

#19 Put your phone away when you’re hanging out. Your phone can act as an easy distraction, and it subtly says that you care more about the online world than the person you’re with. Pocket your cell and pay attention to the conversation. You’ll be surprised by the difference it makes.

#20 Keep your word. Do what you say you’ll do, always.

#21 Stop the trash talk. Whether you both agree with the criticism or not, negative talk sets a bad precedent for conversations.

#22 Remember life events. Sure, Facebook gives you a nudge to remember important birthdays, but there are a ton of smaller events that separate good friends from great friends.

#23 Be the first to like her photos. As the ancient saying goes, good friends don’t let posts go unliked.

#24 Book an appointment together. If you’re getting a blowout or manicure, ask if she wants to join.

#25 Apologize, even if it’s late. Bring up something you fought about in the past, and offer an apology. Even if you’ve both moved on, it shows you care about making it right.

#26 Talk about your plans and resolutions. Let her share in your goals, and offer to keep her on track to achieve her own.

#27 Tell her when she looks great. Kind words go a long way.

#28 Share something you’re embarrassed about. Confide in her and show a vulnerable side she hasn’t seen before.

#29 Pledge to make an effort. Don’t be afraid to say you want to do better, and maybe your friends will pay it forward, too.