When I was in high school, if one of my friends (or myself) went through a nasty breakup, we crowded each other like a herd of elephants. No, I’m not comparing a teenage girl to an elephant. But have you seen this picture before?

These elephants are circled around their young to protect them from predators. How beautiful is that? I’m not exactly comparing high school boys to predators, either, but hey, call it like you see it, ladies. (I’m kidding, y’all. Don’t be mean to each other.)

When one of us was going through a rough time, the rest of us would huddle up– have a sleepover, listen to girl power song on our walkmans (those are small gadgets that play cds before apple took over the planet), eat pancakes.

Now, I’m not surrounded by breakups so much (thank the risen Lord), but my friends & I still go through hard stuff, & it’s nice to have each other for a spirit boost.

One of my daily goals that I write down every single morning is to be a joy-giving friend. What does this mean? It means to look for ways I can bring joy to a friend’s life. These are almost always small things. Text her why you’re thankful for her. Surprise her with her favorite drink from Starbucks. Text her a funny gif that makes her laugh. When you see something that reminds you of her, tell her (it’s always nice being thought of).

And when a friend is having a hard time, go the extra mile. Enter the Joy Basket.

If your friend just went through a breakup or maybe she had a falling out with a girlfriend– instead of stepping in & telling her how to fix it, remind her who she is by bringing a little joy into her day.

So what’s a Joy Basket? It’s whatever you want it to be, sister. It can be a leftover gift bag from your last birthday or a cute little bin from Target. Heck, it can be one item with a ribbon tied around it. This isn’t about spending tons of money– it’s about being thoughtful. So you have your bag– now fill it up! What are some things that will brighten her day?

Here are some ideas:

  1. Write down a list of 1o things you love about her. You can list them on a piece of paper or put them on colorful, individual cards & piece them together with a metal ring.
  2. Her favorite candy
  3. A $5 gift card to Starbucks
  4. Her favorite nail polish
  5. A sheet mask
  6. Create a Spotify playlist just for her, filled with songs that give her permission to feel her pain & songs that make her dance & of course, songs that make her think of your friendship.
  7. A letter. This is the least expensive & most thoughtful option. Remind her why she’s important to you, & remind her that she’s beautiful & valuable. Sometimes when we’re having a hard day, it’s hard to see that about ourselves. Remind her you’re there if she wants to talk or not talk. Sometimes it’s nice just to have someone to sit with. (Want to add some pizzazz? Fill the envelope with confetti!)

And here’s a little secret– you don’t have to wait for someone to go through something nasty before you spring this little surprise on her! Give joy all the time in all sorts of creative ways. But the next time your friend needs a boost, you’ll have this idea ready in your back pocket.

And if YOU are the one struggling, take care of yourself. Treat yourself with love & grace. Don’t wait for someone to ask you how they can help. Reach out to someone you trust. You are worth it.

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