When you’re a kid, making friends is easy. You like kickball? I like kickball! The bond is instant and unbreakable. You see your friends at school every weekday, and you know everything about them because you’re always together. Without even trying, you memorize their class schedule, favorite songs, and list of crushes.
If there was a Newlywed Game for friends, you’d demolish the competition.
But once school ends and our time becomes divvied up between work, partners, and general responsibilities, that closeness becomes more difficult to maintain. The mental energy we’re able to dedicate to being a friend—and a good friend—shrinks. According to Jeffrey A. Hall, a communication-studies professor at the University of Kansas, the average American spends just 41 minutes a day socializing. That’s not a lot of bandwidth to support a healthy emotional connection with one person, let alone more.
Thanks to cell phones and social media, we’re more connected now than we ever have been, but it’s still harder than ever to keep friendships strong. With Evernote’s Digital Friend Profile, you’ll have everything you need to be the best friend you can be.
Write what you know
Every person is made up of a million little details, and it’s these small facts we learn about our friends as we spend time with them that form the foundation of a strong connection.
Start by creating a new note for each friend and put their name as the title. Going forward, this will be a treasure trove of all the details about this one particular friend that you’ve been carrying around in your head and risk forgetting. For example, if you want to surprise your friend with lunch but you can’t remember if they really love mustard or really hate it, that’s stress you just don’t need. By writing that fact down when they tell you (they actually can’t stand mustard) you’ll nail surprise lunches every time.
This space is also helpful for keeping track of more concrete details, like their address, phone number, and any allergies. You can also set reminders for notable dates you don’t want to miss, such as wishing them a happy birthday or anniversary.
Don’t feel pressured to write down every single thing. We give you full permission not to remember the one time your friend mentioned her great-grandma’s cat’s name. But if you do write down Snowball’s name now, you can bring it up in conversation later, and your friend will know you’ve been paying attention to the little things.
Power tip: On the go and don’t have time to write everything down? Use the audio recording function to talk now and document later.
Capture the conversations
Picture it: it’s March. You and your friend have just had a fantastic phone conversation. You talked about work, your families, and what TV shows you’re watching. You say, “It’s been too long! Let’s do this again soon!” You hang up feeling great. And then suddenly, it’s September, and you can’t remember any of the things you wanted to follow up on. Wait, now it’s March again. Oh no!
Time slows for no one, and it is exceptionally unkind to the specific details. Keep the most relevant information top of mind by writing down the highlights of your chat. Add the date and any tasks you want to carry out, like checking in on your friend in one week if they share they’re having a tough time at work. Record each new conversation on top of the previous entry so you have the most recent information handy.
Power tip: Set a recurring task to call your friend so you don’t accidentally let six months go by without a chat!
Become the perfect gift-giver
Birthdays, holidays, friendaversaries, new job celebrations, housewarming parties—the list of gift-giving occasions goes on and on. It can be a real headache to try and guess what each person will love when the event is coming up, especially those picky recipients who either have everything or never seem to want anything.
While it might seem like a complicated formula, the secret to gift-giving is simple: listen throughout the year. If your friend mentions in February they’ve always wanted to make crème brûlée, take note of it (two ramekins and a torch). If it’s scorching hot outside, and they say they can’t wait to cozy up on the couch with a book and a blanket? Wool socks, a fall-scented candle, and a hot chocolate mug. If they mention wanting to learn more about space, add tickets to that cool exhibit at the local planetarium.
Save links as you stumble across them or write out general ideas if you need more time to pick a specific present. Then, when the gift-giving occasion is around the corner, you’ll have a list of awesome items to choose from. But wait, did you already give this perfect gift last year? Avoid that guessing game by taking a photo of the present and/or card and storing it in Evernote.
You can also mark the items your friend was most excited about so your gifting game will only continue to improve. If you’re shipping a gift or sending a card, set a reminder the week before the due date so it arrives in time!
Power tip: If you find a cool item but aren’t sure who would love it, save the webpage or website for general gifting later using Web Clipper.
Every friendship is different, and there’s no one way to be a great friend. But with a little extra time and some helpful reminders from Evernote, you can make sure those connections stay strong for years to come.