I have a bad habit. For years I was very wary of approaching anyone with friendship. I assumed that if they wanted to be my friend, they'd let me know. I reciprocated, of course, but never initiated. And I don't think I'm entirely alone in this. It's the easy way out, but if everyone thought this way, no one would be friends. It's a two way street. This week, my challenge is to reach out to a few different individuals whom you would like to form a deeper friendship with. Here are some ways to do that: Encouragement Cards - They're easy, versatile, and fun. You can write a lengthy and heartfelt letter, draw a doodle of a cat, or anything else you might please. Encouragement cards can easily make someone's day, and they don't all have to be long or even serious. It's a great way to let a friend know you were thinking about them. For those who may need some motivation, check out Project Parakaleo, an encouragement card writing club led by Megan Turner. It takes place every Thursday from 2-3 pm in the PVG lobby. Turner provides cards, pens, and a theme each week. Follow through with plans – It is all too easy to earnestly and enthusiastically make plans to make plans. "We should totally go out for coffee and catch up!" "It's been too long, I'll have to come visit your townhouse!" These phrases get thrown around with the best of intentions, but fall by the wayside when no date is set and times get busy. Set a concrete time to show you are genuinely interested in spending time with this person. Verbal Affirmation – It’s common to say a friendly “Hello!” to most people you see around campus. It can be more challenging, however, to make an effort to go further. Ask them about their day/week or compliment them (genuinely, of course – I’m not encouraging anyone to make things up for conversation’s sake). This can mean much more to a person that it appears from the outside, and it only takes a small amount of effort. Little steps taken over time can have a great impact on friendship. It simply takes one person to initiate it. This week, I challenge you to be that person.