THE BLOG
09/09/2013 10:41 am ET Updated Nov 09, 2013

5 Ways to Be a Better Friend, No Matter How Busy You Are

My friends have been my support system, therapists, sounding boards, cheering team and sisters for life. I don't know what I would do without these women who have made my life immeasurably better.

Check out this excerpt from my book, One Hot Mama: The Guide to Getting Your Mind and Body Back After Baby, which tells just one of many examples of how my friendships have literally brought me back to life during a difficult time:

After a devastating miscarriage, I will never forget the heavy cloak of sadness that I felt. I had to have a D&C, which is a minor procedure but pretty painful when you're already sad about losing a baby. I returned home to discover flowers, loving letters, and a voicemail from each of my best friends. I cried tears of gratitude and felt completely surrounded and soothed by their love. My three oldest and dearest hometown friends booked their tickets the moment they found out I'd lost the baby and knew I needed them. They arrived two weeks later and had arranged for us to stay at a beautiful hotel on the beach. With them, I learned I could smile and be lighthearted again. After the initial hugs and tears, we didn't mention the miscarriage again the entire trip. Instead, we went out for delicious meals and drank too many margaritas, danced until we could barely walk, and went back to our hotel room with an extra-large pizza at 3 a.m. We told stories, laughed, shopped, and relaxed at the spa. This trip literally brought me back to life.

So why are these life-saving women the first ones to lose my time and attention?

Because I know that their love is pretty darn unconditional. They all have families and crazy busy lives too, and they understand.

I've definitely neglected my support system during my busiest of times, but I always reprioritize, reconnect and rekindle when I come up for air using these five tactics:

1. Call or meet up with local best friends for a kid-free happy hour or coffee date at least every few weeks. It can be tough with busy schedules and especially when you have young children, but it's important to carve out some uninterrupted catch-up time.

2. Send regular hand-written notes to your best friends every few months by thanking them for a gift or experience, congratulating them on a recent success, or simply letting them know how important they are to you.

3. Email far away friends regularly to share your triumphs, failures, life's beauty and simple stories of your daily life. Sometime we miss out on the details of the lives we care about the most, so try to reach out and let these people glimpse in to your life so they feel connected to you and what you've got going on. Facebook is simply too impersonal for your very nearest and dearest!

4. Remember the milestones and special days like birthdays, anniversaries, deadlines, launches, etc., and reach out to her with text messages, cards, calls or emails just so she knows you're thinking of her. Get the important dates from all of the people who mean the very most to into your calendar and have virtual reminders sent to you a week in advance to get a card in the mail.

5. Plan regular getaways! This might seem impossible when you've got young kids, but the best way I've stayed in touch with my very best friends is by meeting up in a place where neither of us lives to completely reconnect. One of my very best friends and I were either pregnant, nursing, or in the middle of moving for about three years and we hardly had a chance to see each other. We finally planned to meet up in Napa Valley and had the most fun and fabulous weekend soaking up each other's company, and we went home to our families grateful, refreshed and reconnected.

Close friendships are incredibly valuable and don't let these beautiful relationships fall prey to the craziness of your hectic schedule and full life. It's key to nurture your relationships with your core of closest friends to live the most fulfilling and joyful life possible. I hope these tips provide a helpful reminder to keep your friendships healthy and strong!

For more by Erin Cox, click here.

For more on love and relationships, click here.

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