Do you have a lot of friends? Do you remember how long have you been with them?
William Shakespeare once said “A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”
At a certain point, friendship is everything to us. It is one of the most important things in our lives because they can influence our choices and helps us define ourselves. Our friends make us feel comfortable; they can unravel the moments of weakness, and also know our shortcomings but still love us anyway.
Perhaps, I can say that I am the best version of myself when I’m surrounded with friends. I don’t need to act like someone else because they accept me wholeheartedly for who I am. And in times, I am going through the most challenging moment of my life. I have friends who will come to rescue and save not only my day but my sanity.
They say “friends are like flowers in the garden of life”. Friendship also needs their own kind of water and soil to grow healthy and strong. So what does a healthy friendship look like? How would you build a strong and lasting friendship? Here are fifteen ways to encourage a stronger relationship with your best pals.
1. Choose friends wisely.
“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” -Proverb 13:20
You can’t choose the family you are born into, but you can always choose your friends. If you allow the wrong people in your life, stuff will come up missing, like your joy, peace, love, and hope because those folks around you will influence your behavior.
2. Be kind.
A simple act of kindness can change the mood of someone who is going through a rough time. Look at those things that you can do to make their life easier rather than making them feel heavier.
3. Be genuine
“Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones.”- John Lennon
A strong and long lasting friendship should be built with honesty. You don’t have to be someone else just to gain a lot of friends, because real buddies will give you the freedom to be yourself and accept you for who you are.
4. Find time.
Show your friends that you want to be around them no matter how hectic your schedule is. If both of you are far away from each other, you may send text message, email, chat, or call to make them feel that they are important in your life.
5. Show appreciation.
Make sure to express how you feel and take actions to show that you care for them. Complimenting them on the good qualities or things they do, is also a great way to show your appreciation.
6. Express your gratitude.
Let your friends know how much you value your friendship. Write them a note, or take them out for lunch at one of your favorite places. It is important to find time and thank the people who make a difference in your life.
7. Be a good listener.
A good friend doesn’t always mean you have all the right words to say but rather, you just have to be a good listener. Pay attention and listen closely to what the other person is saying. Making eye contact and body language will also help you show that you are listening.
8. Admit and apologize.
Sometimes when a friend is upset, all they want to hear from you is a simple “sorry”. Learn to admit and apologize when you do something wrong instead of allowing your pride to eat you. Just shut up, swallow your pride, and accept your mistakes because that is part of growing up.
9. Realize that nobody’s perfect.
Everyone makes mistakes in life that is why pencils have erasers. Each of us has flaws and quirks, but accepting all of it is the key to a stronger and long-lasting friendship.
10. Be trustworthy.
To achieve a solid friendship, you have to be honest with each other. If a friend tells you a secret, make sure to keep it and don’t ever leak it out to someone you think you can trust. Nothing kills a budding friendship faster than spilled secrets. A secret should be keep as secret.
11. Share the bad times.
It is during the worst times that you will get to see the true colors of the people around you. However, a true friend will always be there when things go bad. They will stick with you not only when you’re fine but also when you’re at the lowest points of your life.
12. Support a friend.
Friends are like backbone, they are always there when you need support. Be there to cheer them up when they accomplish something, cry when they lose, and laugh when they do something stupid.
13. Respect each other’s opinion.
We all have different perspectives in life and the best way to avoid troubles and misunderstandings in your friendship is to respect each other’s opinion. Learn to be open minded and don’t expect them to agree with everything you say but rather, expect them to have their own view of things.
14. Never talk behind your friend’s back.
Gossip is toxic and can ruin even the best of friendships.
15. Try new things and have fun together.
Friendship can fall into a rut sometimes if all you ever do is share your latest complaints every time you see each other. Why not go out and do some new adventures together? It is a great way to create some happy memories and lighten the burden load you feel.
A friend is someone you trust and share a deep level of understanding and communication. There may be a lot of people out there who struggle in creating quality, long lasting friendship, since it takes effort and skills to create and enjoy it. But everything is worth it when you finally found someone with whom you can share a bond of trust and loyalty for a long period of time.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez