03/24/2008 02:57 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Making Female Friendships Stick

Women are: daughters, girlfriends, sisters, mothers, lovers, wives, workers, students, caregivers and FRIENDS! The significance and order of these roles change over time and vary according to the woman but the conflicting demands can be overwhelming.

In a 24/7 society, where multi-tasking is not only expected but often is demanded, it's not surprising that female friendships sometimes get short shrift. Yet friendships -- even the best of them -- are prone to fray if they aren't properly nurtured. So we need to find small ways to make these important relationships stick and keep them high on our to-do lists:

* Remember her birthday with a call, card or flowers
* Send her an old-fashioned postcard next time you are on vacation
* Send her a note on pretty stationary, for no particular reason, expressing what her friendship means to you
* Call her to wish her and her family a happy holiday.
* Acknowledge significant-to-her milestones: her promotion at work, her anniversary, or her children's birthdays
* Don't be vague about when you'll see each other again. Schedule your next face-to-face time before you say goodbye
* Take a class together or join the same gym
* When you see she is overwhelmed, pitch in
* When she needs to talk, listen
* Got kids? Enroll in the same Mommy and Me class together
* Make a rule and stick to it: Don't ever allow three months to go by without any contact
* Email her to let her know you are thinking of her
* If you live nearby one another, find ways to coordinate chores and other things you have to do: Schedule your mammograms together, get your nails done side by side, make your haircut appointments on the same day, go food shopping together, or take an exercise class together
* Meet for lunch every Friday
* If you live far apart, plan a girlfriend getaway once or twice a year---just the two of you

How to make it stick? All it takes is making friendship a priority and a little bit of creativity in re-ordering your priorities. One woman I interviewed told me that she exercises simultaneously with her friend who lives thousands of miles away. As they both use the treadmill, they talk and motivate one another to exercise. At the same time, they remain connected across the miles.