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Friends Forever IRL 

Technology was created to make our lives easier, but true friendship has been doing that all along.  

You’ve Got a Friend in Me’, is a song anyone can sing. But bearing in mind how we’ve embraced social media, it’s a song with a meaning we often forget. If you’re having a tough time maintaining, building or improving your in-real-life (IRL) friendships, here are five tips for you. 

Ask yourself…  

What does friendship look like to you? What does it mean to you? Who comes to mind when you think of a true friend? It’s easy to slip into parasocial relationships online these days, where we create a false sense of community, knowing and control, but it isn’t real. You can’t control a real relationship, and that’s the beauty of it, that’s what promotes personal and relationship growth. Learning your definition of a friend and finding the people who are meant to be in your circle is the way to go. 

Presence is a present  

How many times do we leave our buddies on read, or wait for the ‘right time’ to answer a voice note or return their call? With social media being so overwhelming and distracting, we tend to self-isolate. We are now so content with scrolling away, that we forget to live our lives through our own eyes, not the camera lens of another’s. So, take a few hours every day to actually be there. Go on a coffee date, window shop, visit the beach, take a walk! Give that attention to your friends. They deserve it, and so do you. 

Sync up  

If Covid taught us one thing, it was how to stay connected to someone over a distance, and that still holds up. If you don’t feel like going out or are feeling anxious and overwhelmed or if it’s difficult to sync schedules, then use the Metaverse to your advantage. Do that video call with a friend, set up a movie night over on Discord, create a shared playlist over on Spotify, and play games together online. If you’re going to spend so much time in the digital world, take your buddy-ole-pals with you. 

Follow through  

If you make a plan with your friend, follow through with it, and if you have to take a rain-check, make sure to follow through with that, too. Something that can wreck our friendships, is a lack of consistency. If we can be so diligent with checking Instagram or X throughout the day, we can do the same for our friends. Pop them that “How have you been?” text, or visit them in person. Check in on your peeps. 

Friendship is a cure  

It’s scary to be vulnerable in this harsh world, but when you find people who make you feel safe to be you, who validate your feelings and accept your expressions or teach you more about yourself or what you can improve on, it’s worth everything. A solid friend can calm your anxieties, motivate you, and make you feel seen and known. A simple chat can make your day infinitely better. The warmth and happiness from laughing together can heal you physically and mentally; don’t take that for granted. 

Tips & tricks  

  • Fun fact: High-quality friendships can increase your life expectancy. 
  • It’s much harder to make friends when you’re an adult. To make friends, having hobbies and joining communities will help. 
  • Reduce your screentime and social media usage by setting time limits on the apps you use most. 
  • You share matching brainwaves with your closest friends. Keep those connections active.


Text: Thuveshnie Govender.
Photographs: Gallo/Getty Images 

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