It’s almost that time of the year where the sun’s out, school’s out and everyone goes their separate ways for a few months. As you part ways, don’t forget about the friendships and relationships that you’ve built over the course of the year. The immense support that you’ve shown your friends should continue throughout the summertime. Be a social-wellness wingman by sustaining and empowering your friends this summer.
Establish a safe space
It’s important to note that checking on your friends or talking things out doesn’t make you weak or emasculate you. Life’s emotional stressors and burdens impact everyone. Your feelings are valid and they matter. It’s vital to create a safe space for everyone to unpack the feelings and concerns. Always actively listen to each other. Don’t be so quick to give general advice. Sometimes all someone wants to do is vent, so let them vent. Never tell anyone to “get over it” or “man up.” That shows that you don’t care about your friends’ feelings. Allow them to be themselves and open up. They will appreciate it — if the roles were reversed, you would want the same.
With the ever-flowing wave of technology, staying in touch with friends has never been easier. Texting and group chats create an outlet to reach out to friends. You get to share memes, laughs, recount past memories, check in with everyone and virtually enjoy each others company. Another popular outlet is video chatting via FaceTime or Skype. This creates a more intimate environment than texting because you converse face to face, but it’s still barricaded by a screen.
Engage in real meaningful conversations
Beyond the screens, physical face-to-face communication is the most intimate form. It’s where you get to be raw, open and honest. You become aware of one’s body language and tone. It creates space for a more vulnerable conversation which brings your bond closer. Always respect one another’s feelings and be nonjudgmental. Don’t be afraid to be honest, however; tell your friends what they need to hear in a respectful manner. As a wingman, you’re supposed to push your friends to be the best person that they can be.
Spend time together
The summertime is time for adventures so why not go on one with your closest friends? Hanging out and engaging with friends does wonders for your mental health. You don’t need to have a ton of money to embark on an adventure. There are many fun, cost-friendly activities to do like having a photo shoot or going to the movies, the mall, the beach, free concerts, playing sports, roller skating or just meeting up to eat after work. Spending quality time together helps build trust and understanding which can result in a stronger friendship.
Rooting for each other from a distance
At times there will be bad days where the storm will come raining down and you want to isolate yourself. It’s valid for you to be selfish with your attention so that you can process your thoughts and emotions and get to a healthier mindset. Just don’t completely shut out your friends. Let them know that you need time for yourself. They’ll continue to support you, just at a further distance. If your friend temporarily shuts you out, give them their space but occasionally check in on them, so that they know they have someone in their corner.
Make sure you’re each working toward your goals
Remember that summer isn’t forever and a new semester is right around the corner. Push each other to work to their best of your abilities. Send each other scholarships and internships to apply for. Supporting one another’s ambitious goals is definitely a way to maintain a friendship for a lifetime.
It’s essential to be there for each other, whether you’re close or far in proximity. All a person needs is for someone to have their back, listen and understand them, as well as believe in them. Be that person. Be there for someone just like you would want someone to be there for you. Take care of yourself and your friends this summer.