I'm not good at keeping friends.
It's partly because I have this "out of sight, out of mind" thing about people; I tend to forget about people whom I don't see regularly. It's partly because I tend to smother people in whom I'm interested with attention. It's partly because if I think someone thinks ill of me, I let it upset me, frequently out of all proportion to my actual relationship to the person in question.
Because I'm not good at keeping friends, I've set myself a task of doing two things per week to maintain friendships. It can be stuff like writing a letter or an email, going to Quaker Meeting (see links to the right), or visiting someone.
I think I've learned something recently about keeping friends, though.
I've got a habit of being helpful. I have computer knowledge, tool skills, some specialized knowledge in my career field; I volunteer; I've donated blood about 160 times (and if a blood donation is a pint, that means 20 gallons!). One of the things I'm NOT good at is asking for help or accepting it. (I think this is a guy thing; I think many of my male compatriots are similarly inept, if you will.)
People who help others, but never need help themselves, are heroes, maybe. But they're not friends.
Now, as part of the Anchor House Ride I'm doing this summer, I'm asking people for donations. I'll admit, I wimped out on it, a lot. I sent out an email to about 60 recipients. The one actual "ask" I did was an announcement at the end of Quaker Meeting last week (yes, I'm an atheist who goes to Quaker Meeting; we're not all that rare).
I've had over $400 in donations so far. I've heard from some people I hear from only rarely, and I've even re-established one or two dormant relationships. Asking for these donations has done a lot to maintain some of these old friendships.
I don't know if these people will be willing to donate again if I go again next year. I only know that this has been healthy for the social part of my life.
Several months ago, I signed up for a daily email from The Art of Worldly Wisdom a book of 300 aphorisms on living by the 17th-century Jesuit, Baltasar Gracian (you can get .epub & .pdf versions of his book here). I don't remember seeing in it (yet) about allowing other people to help you. But that's just become one of my aphorisms for worldly living - because it certainly is making a difference for me.