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How to be a Supportive Friend

How to be a Supportive Friend

Good times and good friends just naturally go together, but what do you do when hard times befall your friends? It’s easy to be a good friend during the fun times, but your friends need you most when life gets difficult, and they often could use your support and some words of encouragement. Here are some helpful ways to be the friend she needs through big changes, hard times, and everything in between.

Actively listen
Don’t just hear what your friend is saying, actively listen and validate her feelings with phrases like, “That must have made you feel so anxious” or “I understand you’re really hurting.” Your friend wants you to empathize with her situation and show that she’s understood. Don’t dismiss or minimize the importance of the problem by saying things like, “That’s nothing to be upset over.” You are not her, and she’s the one going through the ordeal, not you.

Don’t compare
Don’t compare your friend’s situation to one of your own, as this may appear to her that you’re changing the focus to you. If you feel she might relate to your past situation, mention it and quickly bring the focus back to her, such as, “I felt the exact same way when “x” happened, but it got easier as I talked it through and maybe you’ll find that happening for you as well.” This shows you sympathize with her situation, and relate to it, while keeping the attention on her.

Don’t be “Miss Fix It”
Your friend mainly wants to be heard and supported. She’s not necessarily looking for you to solve or fix the problem. Rushing in with ways to “fix” things may give her the feeling that she’s not capable of handling it on her own. She really just needs you to be her empathetic confidant.

Don’t ask—take action
When friends are going through tough times, it’s our natural reaction to say, “Let me know if I can do anything.” The trouble with this is that now we’ve given our troubled friend a task to do in addition to dealing with her situation. Plus, if she’s not one to easily ask for help, then this becomes a daunting task for her and chances are she’ll never reach out. Instead, take charge yourself and make a few meals for your friend and drop them off. A homemade dish is always a sign of comfort, no matter what.  Or, simply stop by with her favorite coffee drink or smoothie to brighten her day. Small acts of kindness can go a long way in showing support.

Be her cheerleader
When she’s ready, let her look to you for cheering up. One of the best ways to help a friend in need is to offer a strong dose of positivity by validating her feelings and also showing a brighter side. She’ll not only reap the benefits of your good mood, but it will make even the most challenging situations easier for her to cope with.

Hugs are healing
Never underestimate the power of a hug. Sometimes, there are no words and simply pulling her in for a warm hug can make her feel nurtured, calm, and safe. Research has even shown that hugging boosts brain chemicals like oxytocin and serotonin, elevating one’s mood and creating a sense of well-being—everything your friend needs.

 

How to be a Supportive FriendHow to be a Supportive FriendHow to be a Supportive FriendHow to be a Supportive FriendHow to be a Supportive FriendHow to be a Supportive Friend

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How to Nurture all of your Friendships

How to Nurture all of your Friendships

Not all friendships are created equal, but all friendships are indeed important and meaningful in their own unique, special ways.

Truth be told, there are varying levels of friendship. Some are extremely close. Some not as much, but still significant nonetheless. Although your various friendships may be different from one another, it’s still important to stay connected with each of them and to show your appreciation. After all, they have inspired, supported, encouraged, and motivated you—and perhaps even stood by your side—and probably continue to do so even today.

Blue Mountain has compiled a list of five different groups of friends you might have. We’ve also added fun ways to keep in touch with those friends in each group. Maybe you have suggestions of your own. We’d love to hear them!

FRIENDSHIP GROUP #1: BEST FRIENDS
Friends in this group are very few, but they’re the ones who know you best and accept you unconditionally. They’re also the ones you first turn to through the different phases of your life. To stay connected with this select group, the more personal, the better: one-on-one get-togethers, phone calls, and cards (yes, through the mail) are the nicest and most meaningful gestures.

FRIENDSHIP GROUP #2: SOCIAL FRIENDS
These friends are formed from social circles that enjoy each other’s company outside the home and workplace. They enjoy getting together and having a great time, whether at each other’s homes, at outside venues, or at functions. To stay connected with this group, eCards are a good choice.

FRIENDSHIP GROUP #3: WORK FRIENDS
Obviously, these friends are your professional colleagues and co-workers. You’re brought together through a mutual employer, but then you just happen to click on a more personal level. You might even socialize outside of work. These friends could also accumulate if you leave one company for another. To stay connected with this group, the social network LinkedIn is a great place to gather. Coffee and lunch dates are also nicely practical.

FRIENDSHIP GROUP #4: SCHOOL FRIENDS
This group of friends could have been culled from your grade school, high school, or college…or your child’s grade school, high school, or college. These individuals might include classmates, teachers, professors, coaches, mentors, other parents, etc. To stay connected with this group (through messages and photographs), blogging and social media work extremely well. You might want to consider Facebook or Twitter. Also, alumni groups and reunions are great ways to keep in touch.

FRIENDSHIP GROUP #5: CASUAL FRIENDS
These are friends you see just every once in a while. They could be meet-up groups, neighbors, members of your religious affiliation, etc. You don’t see each other regularly, but you do enjoy each other’s company and you get along well. To stay connected with this group, you may want to make more of an effort to do a planned activity together (movie, dinner, concert, art show, bowling) or share a lovely treat (bakery, flowers, vegetables from your garden, a small gift). You can also reach out and send an eCard that shows how much you value their friendship.

 

How to Nurture all of your FriendshipsHow to Nurture all of your FriendshipsHow to Nurture all of your FriendshipsHow to Nurture all of your FriendshipsHow to Nurture all of your FriendshipsHow to Nurture all of your Friendships

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Top 10 Ways to Surprise & Delight your Best Friend (FREE desktop background)

Top 10 Ways to Surprise & Delight your Best Friend (FREE desktop background)

Your closest and dearest friend(s) will always have a special place in your heart. And you in hers. You know each other inside and out. You’ve gone through good times and bad. You’ve been there for each other through thick and thin. And there’s no one else you’d rather call your best friend.

But times change—and life happens. You don’t get to see each other as often as you once did. You don’t keep in touch as often as you’d like. And you suddenly somehow feel that an occasional phone call just isn’t enough.

You’d like to change that now. You’d like to reach out to her in some very special way and surprise her with an act of appreciation for your deep friendship. Any ideas of how you’re going to do that?

Don’t give it another thought. Blue Mountain has done all the work for you and compiled a list of 10 fun and exciting ways to reconnect with your BFF. Pick one (or more!) and delight her today!

MAKE A SCRAPBOOK OR VIDEO
Compile a scrapbook or PowerPoint slideshow of the many pictures you have of you and your best friend together. If doing a video, add songs in the background that have a special meaning to you both. Don’t forget to add a personal message that will touch her heart. This will truly become a keepsake.

RECREATE PAST MEMORIES
What did you use to like to do together? Ride bikes? Go bowling? Shop at the mall? Visit an amusement park? Have sleepovers? Recreate that exact kind of day with little notes that will remind her of your past shared memories and inside jokes.

HAVE DINNER TOGETHER
Visit a restaurant in a city that neither of you have ever been to before. Make reservations under your nicknames. Order for each other. Giggle the night away.

WATCH AN OLD SHOW
Rent an old movie that was a favorite of both of yours and laugh/cry through it together. Choose either a popular TV series (like “Leave it to Beaver,” “Father Knows Best,” or “I Love Lucy”) or a classic film (like “Gone with the Wind,” “Casablanca,” or “Titanic”). If a good chick flick about female friendship is more to your liking, choose “Thelma and Louise,” “Beaches,” or “Steel Magnolias.” And don’t forget the popcorn!

MAKE A RETRO DINNER
Cook dinner for your best friend that would be something you both loved as kids. Think retro. Your menu could include such all-time favorites as macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, salisbury steak or meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas, chicken à la king, tuna casserole, TV dinners, deviled eggs, spinach dip in a hollowed-out bread bowl, cheese spread in a can with a nozzle plus crackers, baked Alaska, a gelatin mold, or S’mores.

SEND FLOWERS
It doesn’t matter if it’s a magnificent bouquet or a simple arrangement. The important thing is that your friend’s day is made that much brighter when she receives those beautiful flowers from you. You might also want to accompany them with an eCard that expresses your sentiments. For a helpful guide, here is what some flowers signify:

  • Amaryllis – splendid beauty
  • Birds of Paradise – joyfulness
  • Black-Eyed Susan – encouragement
  • Blue Violet – faithfulness
  • Carnation – pride and beauty
  • Chrysanthemum – cheerfulness in old age; fidelity
  • Gladiolus – strength of character
  • Heather – admiration
  • Lily – majesty
  • Pink carnation – gratitude
  • Yellow rose – friendship
  • Zinnia – thoughts of friends

SHARE A SPA DAY
Book an afternoon (or even a full day!) of pampering at the spa for the two of you. Choose from the variety of services offered—from manicures and pedicures, to facials, massages, and body treatments. Throw in a shampoo/style, makeup application, or lunch, too, if available. Then get ready to enjoy a truly restful and relaxing time together.

ENJOY AN OUTDOOR ACTIVITY
Think outside the box on this one. Maybe plant a garden together. Or go hiking (and enjoy a picnic lunch afterwards). Or play in a playground. Or fly kites. Or rollerblade. Or go kayaking. Or run a race. Or…frankly, the world is your oyster.

ATTEND A COOKING CLASS
There’s nothing that brings good friends together quite like food. Choose a class that will introduce a cuisine or technique that’s new to both of you. Then maybe schedule another evening to recreate at home what you learned in class. Don’t forget the wine! Bon appétit!

GET AWAY
Schedule a getaway weekend just for the two of you. It can be as exotic (a trip to Paris!) or as modest (tenting in a national park) as you’d like or can afford. The important thing is that you enjoy your time together and get a chance to catch up on old times!

And now we’d like to surprise and delight YOU, our dear reader, with a free desktop background featuring one of our most popular friendship quotes. To set as your desktop background, simply click the image, and when the new window appears, right click and choose “set as background.”

Top 10 Ways to Surprise & Delight your Best Friend (FREE desktop background)

 

Top 10 Ways to Surprise & Delight your Best Friend (FREE desktop background)Top 10 Ways to Surprise & Delight your Best Friend (FREE desktop background)Top 10 Ways to Surprise & Delight your Best Friend (FREE desktop background)Top 10 Ways to Surprise & Delight your Best Friend (FREE desktop background)Top 10 Ways to Surprise & Delight your Best Friend (FREE desktop background)Top 10 Ways to Surprise & Delight your Best Friend (FREE desktop background)

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Letter From the Editor – Celebrating Friendship!

Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!

Hello, Blue Mountain Friends,

Is it really August already?!  The long lazy days of summer we enjoyed as children seem to go by so quickly now.  But there are still lots of delightful things to appreciate in August—the days are warm and sunny, the robins are still singing and the calla lilies are in bloom.  August also dawns with two great days to celebrate—National Girlfriends Day on the first, and Friendship Day on the third.

What would we do without our friends?  We go to them with the questions that can’t be Googled.  They drop everything if we’re in trouble.  They laugh with us, cry with us, encourage us and remind us of who we are, when we forget.  They are kindred spirits who get us when it seems like no one else understands. Just the thought of them can make us smile.

It’s said that a friend is one of the greatest things we can have and one of the best things we can be.   Here at Blue Mountain we’ve been pondering how we can all be better friends and nurture these important relationships.  So we’ve created new Friendship eCards to thank our friends for the many ways they enhance our lives, let them know how special they are to us and remind them that we’re here for them, too. Since every friendship is unique, we have a range of cards featuring beautiful photography, whimsical artwork and beautiful hand-lettered designs.  The messaging ranges from light and funny to warm and heartfelt.  Later this month we’ll be introducing fun new birthday cards and talking cards for friends, and all of our blogs this month have a beautiful friendship theme.  Why not Brighten Someone’s Day today and celebrate your friends with a Friendship eCard?

Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!
Caroline Leech, Senior Editor

Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!

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Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)

Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)
Now that we’ve discussed the beauty and impact of generosity and thoughtfulness towards one another in “Random Acts of Kindness: Part 1,” let’s see how we can actually put this lovely concept into motion and make it come to life.

There are a few different ways to do this. You can initiate the act. Or you could perform an act in response to a kind act bestowed on you (which is called “paying it forward”). You could do something nice for your friends and family. Or you could do something nice for strangers. But regardless of which way you do it and to whom, the most important thing is that you do it without any expectation of reward. These are totally selfless acts that are certain to bring you immense satisfaction and pleasure.

We also want to emphasize that these acts do NOT necessarily require large sums of money or a lot of effort. Even the smallest gestures—as long as they’re performed sincerely and without an expectation of recognition or acknowledgement —can result in the greatest happiness.

We’d now love to share a few ideas with you for FREE acts of kindness:

  • Smile broadly and genuinely at someone who passes you by.
  • Hold the door (or elevator) open for the person behind you.
  • Let someone who’s in a rush cut ahead of you in line.
  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Give a sincere compliment to someone who looks like they could use one.
  • Share magazines you’ve already read with co-workers, friends, etc.
  • Bring in your neighbor’s trash cans.
  • Share extra produce from your garden with someone in need.
  • Write a letter to someone who has made a difference in your life.
  • Send someone an eCard (like this free one from Blue Mountain) for no special reason at all.

And here are some ideas for LOW-COST acts of kindness:

  • Leave a heftier tip than usual for your waiter or waitress.
  • Bring a meal to someone who just had a baby or other major life event.
  • Buy a candy bar (or magazine subscription, etc.) that a neighbor child is selling for a fundraiser.
  • Bring donuts or other delicious treat to work.
  • Put lots of pennies on the sidewalk for kids to find.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee.
  • Leave your change behind in a vending machine.
  • Buy an extra ticket and take someone to an event (e.g., movie, concert, ball game).
  • Send a care package to a soldier.

And as a small gift from us to you, we’ve designed a FREE printable that you can download today and give to anyone you choose. It includes 6 different cards that you can fill out and leave anonymously. Look at these cards as your chance to make someone’s day just a little bit brighter!

To download these free printable coupons, simply click on the image, and once the new page opens, right click to print or save the image to your computer.

Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)

And if you’re wondering exactly how the friendly folks at Blue Mountain use these printables to show each other we care, here’s how (along with the recipients’ feedback):

Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)

 

 

 

Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)

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Renewing Connections with Friends (part 1)

Renewing Connections with Friends (part 1)

When we “think Spring”, one of the first things that comes to mind is “refresh and renew.” Most of us have been buried under snow for months which has kept us from getting out and about and sharing time with friends, and sadly, it doesn’t take long before we’ve lost touch altogether.  But now that spring has officially ‘sprung’, it’s the perfect time to renew our connections with the people that matter to us.

So, how does one begin? How do you just pick up where you left off? Well, friendship is funny that way, as most friendships that are solid to begin with don’t simply fade away from the passing of time.

To give you a bit of a nudge, here are a few ideas to help you reconnect and get back into the friendship swing.  After all, as the old cliché goes—to make a friend, you have to be one. 

Email

If you use a computer or mobile device, it’s a fast and easy way to reach out.  For an added bonus, you can send one of our Blue Mountain Friendship eCards for a happy surprise.  Simply say hello and tell them they’ve been on your mind so you wanted to drop them a note and see how they’re doing. You can then say you hope to hear from them soon and end there. It doesn’t have to be complicated; just genuine.

Facebook

If you’re on this social site and you see a post of a friend you haven’t chatted with in awhile, don’t just “like” something they post; send a message. Again, this doesn’t have to be long or involved—you’re reigniting your connection, so keep it simple and sincere.

The beloved hand-written letter

Very few people write actual letters anymore, so it’s even more of a surprise when we actually receive one. And what’s more, everyone LOVES to find cards and letters in their mailbox. Pick out a card or some fancy note paper and jot down a few lines. You can even choose from among several designs of our Printable Stationery at BlueMountain.com and type your message to print out and mail yourself. Your friend will smile at your thoughtfulness when she receives your nice surprise.

If you parted ways badly

Did you have a falling out with a friend and you ended on bad terms but you wish you could reconcile? If you’re able to look past what led to the parting and let bygones be bygones, then start with a typed or hand-written letter, telling them how you’ve been thinking of them and how you miss the friendship the two of you shared. Include your phone number and ask them to call you because they may be hesitant to meet in person right away. When you do chat, don’t feel the need to launch into the past—ask about the present and the latest news in both of your lives. Start with the “now” and, like all the buds that are just starting to open, your friendship will slowly blossom back into being.

The good old fashioned phone call

With the world texting, emailing, skyping and all the other whatnot, it’s always so refreshing to hear the voice of an old friend on the other end of the telephone line. Yes, it’s easy to facebook and text if you do those types of things, but hearing the human voice with all its tones and inflections makes such a difference to what, and how, our feelings and emotions are being said. There’s just no truer substitute than the spoken word.

Welcome spring with a walk

Spring couldn’t have come fast enough this year so, once you’ve re-established connection, offer to meet your friend for a stroll in the park or for a picnic. Breathe in the fresh air of spring as you catch up and look forward to good times ahead.

**Be sure to check back soon for Part 2! Reconnecting and reaching out to family.**

Renewing Connections with Friends (part 1)Renewing Connections with Friends (part 1)Renewing Connections with Friends (part 1)Renewing Connections with Friends (part 1)Renewing Connections with Friends (part 1)Renewing Connections with Friends (part 1)

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“What to Write…” in Friendship Cards

What to Write... in Friendship Cards

This week is National Friendship Week, and the perfect time to share some ideas on what to write in friendship cards. Friendship cards are special because the whole reason to send one is no reason at all – it’s just because you want to let someone know how much they mean to you, to make them laugh, or simply put a smile on their face.  After choosing the perfect friendship card or friendship ecard, there are plenty of options you can add to give the card a one-of-a-kind feeling. Quotes, poems and unique messaging make great additions. See some of our favorites below.

Friendship Quotes:

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. _ Albert Camus

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood. _ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies. _ Aristotle

Friendship Poems:

  • Friendship is a place
    where we feel at home
    from the very start.
    Where kindness comes in smiles
    and comfort soothes the heart.
    Friendship is a place
    where old and dear friends grow.
    And friends like you are treasured
    for the thoughtfulness you show.

 

  • The door is always open
    for you to come right in,
    If you should ever need
    the comfort of a friend.

 

  • Friends can be silly and sassy,
    cool and classy,
    fun and funny too;
    But the best kind
    of friend
    is all-in-one,
    and that kind of friend
    is you!

Friendship Messages:

  • When two friends are this perfectly matched,
    there is no question – either we’re clones,
    or, we’re just the luckiest friends in the universe!

 

  • There are just those times in your life
    when having a true friend means everything.
    I can’t even tell you how often
    I’m so thankful there’s you.

 

  • Good friends don’t just tell you to reach for your dreams – they give you boosts.
    Having you in my life lifts me up with laughter, encouragement
    and strength in a way that only good friends can.

 

 

What to Write... in Friendship Cards What to Write... in Friendship Cards What to Write... in Friendship Cards What to Write... in Friendship Cards What to Write... in Friendship Cards What to Write... in Friendship Cards