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Displaying Affection to a Friend Through Words

by Elise Wile

Showing affection to your friend will benefit not only your friend, but you, also. Highly affectionate people enjoy less stress and better mental health, says associate professor Kory Floyd, Ph.D. in an article in Arizona State University’s “Research Matters.” Still, sometimes it feels awkward to let a friend know just how much his presence in your life means to you. Don’t worry. You can express your affection verbally or in writing without sounding sappy or trite. Simply tailor your words to the occasion and be by his side not only to talk, but to listen, as well.

Words of Support

Whenever your friend begins a new venture, letting her know that you support her is a very affectionate act. If she’s starting a new jewelry-selling business, say, “Margo, I know you are the right person to make this venture a success. You are not only outgoing and personable, but a beautiful model for the jewelry. You’re going to blow your customers away.” She’ll hear the love and support in your words and feel the confidence to go forward in life unworried about the bumps in the road because she knows you’ve got her back.

Words of Affirmation

In the movie “The Help,” housekeeper Aibileen Clark tells the little girl she cares for, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” These words of affirmation helped the child of cold and unloving parents recognize her personal worth. You can give your friend a boost by using words of affirmation to proclaim him handsome, intelligent and worthy of anything life has to offer. Say, “I am so glad I met you. Your ability to catch even the trickiest fish puts everyone else to shame. You are amazing.”

Words of Appreciation

Gratitude is an “emotion of connectedness, “states psychologist Melanie Greenberg in “Psychology Today.” Showing appreciation benefits both you and your friend, and can strengthen your relationship. Let your friend know how much you appreciate what she’s done for you, rather than taking her actions for granted. If she picks up the bill for your coffee date, say, “I really value having a friend who spoils me like you do,” or “You are always so thoughtful.” Considering writing a thank you note just to let her know you appreciate her friendship. You might say, “I appreciate how you are always here to lend an ear. You are valued.”

Words of Comfort

In every friendship, the time comes when a friend is down. Let him know you’re there for him by offering him comfort and reassurance. When your friend loses a parent, saying, “When my mom passed I was a wreck for two months. Know that you can call me any time you’re having a hard time and want some company.” Your affectionate offer of words and time will let him know that you care for him, and sometimes that’s all someone needs -- the knowledge that another person has a willing shoulder to cry on in a world that can seem harsh and lonely.

About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.

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