Lessons from a Friendship Guru

Kristi Birrell spends a lot of time and energy into maintaining most of the friendships she’s made throughout her life—even the long distance ones. These are her secrets to making and keeping friends for a lifetime.


Small gestures really do matter. 
I try to be thoughtful about remembering things: sending a handwritten note, calling, remembering birthdays. I put a lot of effort into making people feel like they are the most important person in my life. When I’m with you, you’re the most important person. Isn’t that all anyone wants—to feel like they are important to someone?

I live with a lot of forgiveness in my heart.
I always want to see the good in people. With relationships, I think the good usually outweighs the bad, which helps me get through some of the tougher times. It’s gotten easier as I’ve gotten older because I’m more comfortable being vulnerable or accepting when my needs aren’t met.

It’s a two-way street.
I used to drop everything for my friends when they needed me, but I wasn’t as good at letting them be there for me when I needed them. I’ve realized that’s not fair to them. Being a good friend also means I need to let my friends be there for me. Asking for what you need is hard sometimes, but it helps your friends know you.

Sometimes being there is enough.
Being there for someone in the most difficult moments doesn’t necessarily mean having all the answers. Sometimes there are things you can’t make better. People often try to fix instead of just be. Just being there really counts.

No one friend can do everything all the time.
You need lots of people for lots of things. And that doesn’t mean you love one friend more than another— but our needs change, depending on what’s happening in our lives. You might have one friend who is an amazing listener but another who you call when you want to go dancing. That’s what makes it fun.

Author :

Jessica Downey

Jessica Downey is the editor of Real Woman magazine.


1 Comment

  1. Kristi Birrell really is a #friendship guru! So proud to be one of her friends for 20 years!



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