If you thought you needed to spend a lot of money or put months into planning a gesture to show the special people in your life that you love them, think again. Here are five simple things you can do to show the best people in your life how much they mean to you, without spending a dime.
1. Cheer them on.
Find joy in your loved ones’ victories, no matter how small. Some people are great at being cheerleaders and always know just what to say to support their friends. Others are a little less sure about what to do, but being someone’s biggest fan is a lot easier than you might think.
Share their social media posts, send them congratulatory texts, buy their crafts or artwork, or mail them an unexpected gift with a quick note telling them how they make you proud. Find happiness in other people’s accomplishments and everyone wins.
2. Be there.
Show that special someone how much they mean to you by showing up when they need you. Sometimes, this can mean sitting down over a cup of coffee or a bottle of wine and venting or babysitting so they can get a few hours to themselves. Other times, it can be as simple as lending them a book you think they’d like to read or jumping on Facetime for a quick chat after a bad day.
Your people need you in different ways. Figure out how to be there for them when they do.
3. Show up in the bad times.
It’s easy to be there for the good times or to make time to catch up, but when something life-altering happens, it’s important to make an effort. While it may sound a bit morbid, keep track of dates that might be difficult for your loved ones and be available if they need you. Remember dates like death anniversaries, birthdays of deceased family members, or any other date that serves as a reminder of a painful and difficult time. Reach out that day and send them a text letting them know you’re thinking about them and you’re there if they need you.
People often hesitate in times like this because they’re not sure what to do or say. But stepping up in the bad times shows them you’re always there, no matter what. You will not make it worse, and it will help them to know they’re not alone in their grief. Give them what they need – a shoulder to cry on, a kind word, advice, and even distraction.
4. Give them what they need.
Everyone has different needs in every relationship. Some people like to settle down at home for the night with a good friend, a bottle of wine, snacks, and bad TV. Others might prefer a surprise gift every now and then as a reminder of how much you care.
What people need from a relationship is commonly referred to as their love language. There are five of them: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, and acts of service. So, while one of your friends may need to hear a genuine compliment every now and then, others might prefer that you volunteer to help them paint their living room or do lawn work.
It’s important to remember that this has nothing to do with your needs. You might not get much out of words of affirmation and maybe you’re not much of a hugger, but your friend or partner might be. Show them how much they mean to you by making an effort to give them what they need.
5. Listen closely.
Listen to your friends, not just about the simple day-to-day stuff, but about the bigger things that make them who they are. Ask a lot of questions – all kinds, from hypothetical ones to deep ones to funny ones – and really listen to the answer. Who was their first love? How did they get that scar on their knee? What’s their favorite flower? Take a real interest in getting to know who they are and the quirky things they like.
Then, remember those things next time they need a pick-me-up. Take them a bouquet of their favorite flowers, bring them takeout from their favorite restaurant, or hop in the car and go to their favorite ice cream shop. Listening is one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone you love, and you might be surprised by how much it means to them.
It isn’t always easy to show someone how much you love them, but it doesn’t always have to be complicated. Most of the time, it only takes a little effort to make a big difference.