You want to be a better friend? Well, you’re not alone.

Fact: Friendships will come and go. People and situations change, which can be a challenge to the health of a friendship. Friendships can be fragile and require time and energy to be at their best. Making friendships a priority can help to overcome these challenges. While it’s not entirely under our control, there are many things you can do to strengthen and preserve friendships.

Try these ideas to be a better friend and make your friendships stronger than ever:

  1. Stay in touch. Reach out to your friends regularly. They’ll be much more likely to stay your friends over the long term.
  2. Think about what your friend needs right now. Everyone has a challenge or two they’re facing. How can you help? Let them know you’re available and concerned. This is a big part of being a good friend.
  3. Avoid judging. You won’t approve of anyone 100% of the time, not even yourself. Your friend will make choices you don’t agree with, and that’s okay. They don’t approve of everything you do, either. Give your advice when asked and be supportive.
  4. Give an occasional compliment. We could all use a little confidence booster now and then. Be the one to give it. Your friends will appreciate it, and you might even get a few more compliments in return.
  5. Spend time together. Absence weakens relationships. Friendships need time and attention to thrive. When do you have time this week to spend time with the friends that mean the most to you?
  6. Find common interests you can share. Sitting and talking is great, but there are a lot of other things you can share. Be active with your friends. Eat meals, watch movies, work out, or go shopping together.
  7. Take on a challenge together. You become closer to those you suffer with. This is one of the reasons military buddies tend to have such strong relationships. But you don’t have to go to war to face adversity side-by-side. Climb a mountain or take a class together. The options are unlimited.
  8. Road trip. Road trips are often part misery and part adventure. Climb in the car and take a trip to a new place together. You’ll create plenty of memories and have all the time in the world to chat and share.
  9. Try new things together. New restaurants, sports, or other activities can be a great way to strengthen your friendships. What are some things you’ve always wanted to try that a friend might like? Skydiving? Spelunking? Painting? Archery? Go for it together!

It’s also important to stop doing the things that weaken your friendships. None of us are perfect friends.

Ask yourself what you can do to be a better friend. Could you be more patient? More available? Less self-centered? Take a look at yourself and try out some positive changes.

How many friends have you lost track of over the years? How many of your friendships are weaker than they used to be?

Unless you’ve intentionally tried to strengthen your friendships, they’re not as strong as they could be.

Make your friendships a priority and do what you can to preserve and strengthen them. You’ll be glad you did!