The Friendship Doctor

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8 Ways to Make a Friend Feel Special on Valentine's Day

For many, Valentine's Day extends beyond lovers to close friends and relatives.

For many women (and some men), Valentine's Day means much more than hearts, chocolates, and roses; the affection they feel on that day extends beyond lovers to their close friends and relatives, too.

Whether you celebrate Valentine's Day or the Día del amor y la Amistad (Day of Love and Friendship)—as do many Latin Americans—February 14th offers a perfect opportunity to show affection for close friends, who add so much to our lives.

Since even the strongest of friendships needs to be nurtured, here are eight ways to let your closet friends know how important they are to you on Valentine's Day (or any other day of your choosing):

1)  Say it in words. Call her or write her a card, note or email telling her just how much her friendship means to you. After all, Valentine's Day gives everyone license to act a bit more affectionate than usual.

2)  Remind her visually. Send her a photo of a wonderful time you had together in the past and tell her how happy it makes you feel that you're still friends after all those years.

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3)  Give her the gift of time. Instead of continually saying, "We have to get together," make concrete plans. Get out your electronic calendar or datebook and set a time when you can spend quality time together—even if it's just over a cup of coffee.

4)  Plan a getaway or trip together. Perhaps you've both been busy and haven't seen each other for a while. Your lives have diverged yet you still feel like you're kindred spirits. Make a relaxed lunch date, spa date, or commit to a weekend when you have uninterrupted time to make new memories.

5)  Weave her into the fabric of your life. If she's single and you're married with children, invite her to join one or more of your family traditions. If you think she might enjoy the company of another close friend of yours, introduce them to each other. Introduce her to your mother, sister or cousin.

6)  Do something together. Suggest that you both read the same book or go to a movie so you can talk about it afterwards. It can be a great springboard for discussing feelings and values.

7)  If something has recently gotten in the way of your friendship and you believe you may have been at fault, don't be too big to apologize.

8) Express your love. Yesterday, I posted a rememberance on The Friendship Blog about the tragic and untimely death or Jeffrey Zaslow, author of The Girls from Ames, The Magic Room, and many other wonderful works that read like love stories. He reminded people of a lesson he learned from Randy Pausch—to take the time to hug the people they care about. What could be more fitting than a hug or a kiss?

Have you recently shown a friend how much you care? What did you do?

This is a slightly revised version of a post that I posted previously on The Friendship Blog. In memory to my Dad who died on Valentine's Day, 2006, the day of my parent's 60th anniversary.

Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., is a psychologist and professor of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. Her latest book is Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend.

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