Though it might seem like something that might be easy, maintaining a good, true friendship can be very difficult, especially when you are in a phase in your life where a lot of things are changing (hello, mid twenties!). Over the last few years but mainly in the past year I have developed a lot as a person and the changes I experienced in myself has changed the dynamics of some friendships. Some friendships for the better and some for the worst.
What we need to remember is friendships take work; though while generally they are a lot of fun and more like extended family, like all relationships you have to work on them.
Here’s some things I have noticed over the years that are key in maintaining friendships:
- Be A Good Listenter. When a friend talks to you, whether it is sharing something from their day try to be really present and really hear what they are saying to you. Our own thoughts can be a big distraction, but instead of always thinking about what advice or comments you can give them, try and listen to what they are areally saying to you.
- Be Open To Change. As people change and grow their friendships can often become strained because one person seems different. If you want to maintain a friendship for a long period of time, you need to come terms with the fact that people change. At their core, your friend is the same person so try to be open minded when they change and encourage them to do the same for you.
- Do Not Judge Your Friends Harshly. Judging peope is part of human nature, but it is a good to try and keep judgements to a minimum when it comes to friendships. We are all human; we all make mistakes. When a friend does or says something you do not understand or that even hurts you, strive to be open-minded and non judgemental. Why not even ask them why?
- Find Positive Common Bonds With Each Other. Friendships are often based on thing we have in common with each other. However, the bonds we make with some people are not always positive. Often people bond over judging people or putting other people down. I am not innocent of this but I am working to rectify this as I have realised that if I or indeed you want to have a lasting, meaningful friendship, focus on positive things that will bring you two closer together.
- Establish (And Do Not Break) Trust. (Trust is a whole new blog post but I will keep it brief.) Trust is the most important aspect of any relationship. It takes time to establish trust with people and it is essential that you make establishing trust a priority in your friendship. And, most importantly, once that trust has been established, do not break it. Once trust has been broken, it can be very difficult to get it back.
Doing these things will help to keep your friendships intact.
But it is important to remember that friendship is a two way street. You should both be getting and giving. If you are doing all of the giving (or all of the getting) then the friendship may not be genuine and it may be time for you to reevaluating that friendship. This is because a true friendship is about giving and taking on both sides.
In my next blog post I will talk about when its time to think about ending a friendship.