Relationships may come and go, but a really good friend is there for life. A true friend helps you through all the ups and downs, stresses and strains of life, and helps you to keep your strength and balance.
Friends truly are priceless. Follow these ten pointers to form deep and lasting friendships.
- Realise it isn’t all about you
WANT A FRIEND? BE A FRIEND!
Friendships are – of course – two way. Think about what you would like in a true friend and resolve to be that person to others. Find the love and caring within and be genuine. Making a real friend means having the ability to empathise, experiencing that person’s joys and sorrows as if they were your own – and still keeping your feet on the ground. So think about the kinds of ways you’d want your best friend to be towards you and start behaving exactly like that.
REALISE THAT IT ISN’T ALL ABOUT YOU
If you are looking for friendship you may be disappointed when people don’t immediately draw you close and open out to you. You may be offended or feel unworthy. Try to let such feelings go, for they aren’t helpful and they are based on your own lack of self-esteem.
Realise that others will have had all sorts of experiences that you can’t know about. They have their own fears and hang-ups. They may also be short of time or other resources, be too busy or simply have a full circle of friends and not have room in their life for you. So move on. It’s not a criticism of you, and your place awaits you.
BE YOUR OWN FRIEND
You’ve probably heard this many times before, but it’s true! You can’t be a real friend to anyone else if you don’t value and care for yourself. If you do not do this, the chances are you’ll look to friends to supply what you lack inwardly. This could result in you being needy, touchy and moody. So be good to yourself. Dwell on your good points, give yourself treats and be your own Bessie first and foremost.
In these days of social media many people feel free to be harsh, self-righteous and punitive to others. There may be many things that make you feel outraged and angry, but always remind yourself that none of us is perfect. With different experiences and pressures you might have done the same things. There but for fortune….. So never condemn, and if you can’t say something nice, say nothing.
ENJOY RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Don’t confine kindness to people you think of as friends – or potential friends. Buying a stranger a cup of coffee, helping someone with their shopping, giving an unexpected gift – how good that makes the recipient feel! Seeing that makes you feel wonderful, and the ripple effect spreads – who knows where? So be a force for kindness and you’ll be a magnet to more of the same.
START EACH DAY WITH A CARING INTENTION
It’s natural to be preoccupied with your own concerns – relationship, job, money, how did I do with this and that, what does so-and-so think of me etc. When you wake up in the morning you may affirm to yourself that you’ll tackle the things you’re bothered by, but why leave it there? Make a specific commitment to be kind in some respect. This could be through a compassionate comment on social media, phoning a friend who’s down or just having an open heart. Put ‘Be kind’ at the top of your ‘To Do’ list
When you smile it naturally lifts your mood. The little muscles in your face send signals to your brain that says ‘Happy’. Anyone who sees you smile will probably not be able to help smiling back, and so everyone becomes brighter. If you project a smile as you go through your day you are more likely to attract friends.
PRACTICE LISTENING, REALLY LISTENING
The famous psycho-analyst, Sigmund Freud, is often thought of as the father of modern counseling. He called counseling ‘The Talking Cure’. When a therapist truly listens to you there is healing in just being heard.
Although there are specific skills known by a therapist, you don’t have to learn them in order to be a fantastic listener. If a friend needs your attention because of some worry or sadness, give your total attention. Listen to every word (gently, without staring!) Ask a few questions if you aren’t quite sure what they mean. Maybe look at their body language – they may speak calmly but their hands may shake, for instance, so betraying deeper feelings. Express understanding and sympathy. Don’t try to distract them, ‘solve’ the issues or make them laugh – any or all of that can come later, once you’ve understood and shown empathy.
Being an attentive, patient and sympathetic listener is one of the greatest gifts of friendship.
If you are putting most of the above advice into practice sooner or later you’ll find someone you ‘click’ with. This will probably mean that you can have a laugh together. Actively seek out times and places, people and situations that make you both giggle. Falling about together is an amazing bond.
WALK YOUR TALK
Saying what you mean, doing what you promise, being reliable, being there when you’re needed – all of these are vital for cementing a true, long-term friendship. Keep your word and be honest. That makes you solid gold as a friend.
HOW WE CAN HELP
Now you know about ten vital points in building friendships. These include behaving like a friend, not taking things personally, being your own friend, performing kind acts, being compassionate, caring, truly listening, smiling, sharing laughs and being reliable. Put all of this into practice and your friendships are sure to flourish.
PUBLISHED: 06 September 2018