All human beings are born into a family, a number of persons to whom we are connected by blood. We did not get to choose this family. Sometimes we do not even like some of its members. No matter how far we go from them, there is always that blood tie. It is so very different with friends. They are the family we choose for ourselves. The question is, how do we know who will make a good friend? Is there a formula? Some people have the same friends for decades. They are there before you call, they laugh and cry with you. In addition, they praise and celebrate you while not forgetting to chastise you when you need it. How did this happen? How do we make this happen? Good friendships are too important to just leave up to the universe. So here are 7 tips on how to make and keep good friends.
Build A Community
Seek out persons of like minds to yourself with similar interests and outlook. This is the first tip on how to make and keep good friends.You can, therefore, plan activities that you like and get together to do them. Form a book club where you can get together to discuss a book you have all chosen to read. Don’t miss the meeting even if you have not read the book. The camaraderie is more important than the book. Doing activities with each other helps to weave your lives together keeping you connected. You can volunteer together at homeless shelters, children hospitals or anywhere you are needed. You get to spend time together while giving back.
Life happens but don’t let it just sweep you along. Take a stand. Don’t be too busy for your friends. So you forgot a birthday. Don’t hide away feeling ashamed, go visit when you can or make a call when you can’t. Little things like these may cause distance to develop and then widen if you don’t do something about it. Schedule meetings and try to stick to the schedule. Brunch every second Wednesday or a conference call every other Sunday. After a while, it becomes second nature and part of your routine. When you do meet, be mentally there as well as physically. Put away the smartphones and be with your friends. People existed for centuries without them. So you can exist without them for an hour or two.
Prune Your Friendship Tree When Needed
Not all friendships work. Therefore, it’s not just about how to make and keep good friends. Don’t be afraid to cut ties with friends who are not healthy for you. Be there for your friends but cut ties with those who only want to use you. It’s one thing to be a helpful friend and quite another just to be a patsy. Stay away from those who make you feel bad about yourself. Good friends know how to give constructive criticism. Remember, if so-called friends tear down others in front of you, they may also tear you down behind your back. Lose them. Pruning the dead or dying parts from your friendship tree allows the healthy parts to flourish. Cut away the weeds of toxic friends to allow your tree to grow and blossom. You will have more time for good relationships if you remove the bad ones.
Lasting Friendships Require Work
Have you ever started off on the wrong foot with someone who later became important to you? Do you have friendships, which never reach second base or to the next level but just seem superficial? Yes, there can be false starts to relationships, which can go either way. Some may develop with work but others may still fall by the wayside. You will never know if you don’t make an effort. Dig deeper than the superficial, however, by all means, set boundaries for yourself. Make your conversations more personal than the weather or news stories. Take an interest in your friends’ lives. This does not mean you are to be nosy. Show your friends that they are important to you. Be vulnerable in front of them. Do things for them without being asked. Give gifts just for the heck of it. Be the friend you want. Continue with those relationships that deepen. For those that fall by the wayside, leave them there.
Have you ever seen those exercises that they do with couples where they ask one spouse to just fall back and the other spouse is expected to catch them? That requires a great deal of trust. Would you do that with a friend? Well, you should be able to do it. However, this does not happen overnight. Good friends should have each other’s backs. This requires building trust. Don’t gossip about your friends. Be there when they need you even if you sometimes have to make sacrifices. Do not keep score. Being a friend is not necessarily a layaway plan for when you need help. The worst thing you can do is remind someone of what you did for them. Do not share your friends’ secrets. Neither should you tell other people’s guarded information to your friend/s, when someone confides in you. Remember they did it because they appreciate and have faith in you, so please don’t ever betray that trust. This is an important tip on how to make and keep good friends.
Life is all about change. It is important to ride out the changes in order to keep your friendships intact. People move away to different places. Don’t let distance ruin a good friendship. You can send emails or call to keep in touch. You can visit them if you are able to. If your friendship is important, you will find a way. Don’t let marriage or the births of children separate you. Make it a point to still find time to get together. Divorce, health issues or even retirement can put distance between you and your friends. Find ways to ride out the transitions in your life and your friendship may be stronger when you come out on the other side.
Be Wary of Technology
Another tip on how to make and keep good friends is that technology can be a wonderful thing but it may ruin friendships. Social media seems to bring people together but does it really? You have friends on Facebook or follow people on Twitter but many of them may be like the empty calories you get from unhealthy snacks. How many of those pictures on Instagram have not been doctored? Who are you really communicating with? Be careful not to give up real for fake. Human beings are social creatures. So don’t give up social for social media. Strike a healthy balance between the two.
There is an old saying that, “Good friends are better than pocket money”. Friends are more important than you may think. So don’t take chances. Make sure to develop healthy relationships. Choose your friends wisely and pursue happiness. It’s a big step in helping you get good at creating your future.
If you’re not sure where to start, when it comes to make and keep good friends, please feel free to get in touch. We’ll happily support you, as you move forward in the direction to best suit your needs.