How to Strengthen Your Friendships
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According to the Mayo Clinic (2015), it is important to have good friends. Why? Well, because they are good for your health. Friends are beneficial because they are there through good times and bad times. They are also there to celebrate special occasions and lend a shoulder to lean on during losses and tragedies. Friends keep you from feeling lonely, and offer companionship when you want it.
Friends, how many of us need them? Friends, before we go any further let’s be friends! Well, truth-be-told, as the Whodini song (Friends) references, everyone needs friends. Friends have the ability to shape who you are and who you will become in the future. They also make great support systems, mentors, secret-keepers, and guides. A good friend will last a lifetime. Moreover, sometimes a friend is more loving and supportive then a relative. So, yes, you need friends in your life. Why? Well, because it will make your life richer, happier, and more satisfying. It is important to understand that people are social creatures by nature.
And, as a result, most people need to feel connected to others. It is that feeling of being connected to someone that provides a person with a feeling of “wholeness.” It is also imperative for your mental and physical health. Being connected to others also has the added benefits of boosting your self-esteem and self-confidence. It can also make you feel as if you belong somewhere, which is important for self-development. Now that you understand just how important healthy friendships are - are you ready to learn new ways to strengthen your friendships? Yes? Well, you have come to the right place. This article will teach you how to tighten the bond between you and your friends. Listed below are helpful ways, in which you can strengthen your friendships:
Yes, one of the best ways to strengthen your friendships is to check in from time-to-time. Checking in with your friends demonstrates how invested you are in your friendship. It also makes them feel that you really care about them, their lives, and their well-beings. Truth-be-told, it is easy to lose touch with your friends, especially as you get older and start working, get married, and have children, however even with a spouse, children, and a booming career, it is important to keep in touch with your friends. Why? Well, most of them will always be there for you, even if you lose your job, or get divorced. So, take time out of your crazy, busy schedule and say “Hello” and “How are you doing?” It will not only make them feel good, it will do wonders for your friendship. P.S. Call your friends. Stay away from texting, Facebooking, tweeting, instant messaging, and emailing – stick to the old fashioned way of communicating – picking up a phone and calling.
One of the quickest ways to lose touch with friends is to constantly decline invitations. In other words, if you are always canceling on your friends, they will eventually quit asking to do things, and your friendship will weaken. Even if you don’t feel like “hanging out” with friends – do it anyways, at least sometimes. Make yourself go, if not for yourself, then for them. They love you and they want to spend time with you. So, the next time someone asks you to dinner or the movies – GO! In addition, ask your friends to do things sometimes. It will not kill you to spend a few hours with your friends; in fact, it just may brighten your day, and strengthen your friendship.
Another good way to bolster your friendships is to create traditions. In other words, make up “special occasions” like: birthdays and friendship anniversaries, and/or do something special on holidays like: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. Dress up and go out on the town, put on an “ugly” Christmas sweater and have an “Ugly Christmas Sweater Party,” and/or have an all-girls or all-boys Valentine’s Day “get together.” Make up traditions that only you and your “posse” practice. Why? Well, because it will make your bond stronger.
Although this may be a hard thing to do, it is essential, especially if you want to improve your friendship. Truth-be-told, it can be quite difficult to tell a close friend that he or she hurt your feelings, but it is important to do. In other words, if a friend hurts you in some way, you have to address the issue with him or her. Why? Well, because if you keep your feelings bottled up inside, eventually you will explode – on your friend and/or others. To keep your friendship strong and healthy, you have to be honest with each other, even when it hurts.
Your friends will respect you more, if they know that they can count on you to tell them the truth. If they feel that you will lie to them, they will back away from you. Honestly, conflicts occur in friendships. It is also normal to hurt one another’s feelings, but what is not ok is allowing unresolved issues and hurt feelings to fester and grow. The key to moving past the hurt is keeping the lines of communication open, being honest, and forgiving one another for past wrongs. It is important to be honest. Why? Well, because it will bring you closer together and strengthen your friendship!
One of the best ways to strengthen your friendship is to forgive. In other words, do not hold grudges. Why? Well, because everyone makes mistakes. Do you want your friends to forgive you when you “mess up?” I bet you do, therefore it is important that you extend the favor and forgive them when they fail you. They are not perfect, just as you are not perfect, so why not at least try to forgive them. Truth-be-told, there are times when you may feel it will be impossible to forgive your friend for a past wrong, but with a little effort, you can do it. Even if you decide never to talk to that friend again, you still have to forgive him or her. Why? Well, because trudging around that kind of negative energy will only drag you down. It will not hurt your friend. In fact, he or she has probably already moved on with his or her life. So, forgive your friend when he or she makes a mistake, if not for him or her, than for yourself. It will not only help you rebuild your friendship, it will also strengthen it, if you choose to stay friends.
- Dr. R. Y. Langham
Collingwood, J. (2015). The importance of friendship. Psych Central. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-importance-of-friendship/0001381
Leonardo, M. (2012). 6 ways to strengthen your friendships. Women’s Health. Retrieved from http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/state-of-friendship
Mayo Clinic. (2015). Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/friendships/art-20044860