I got a chance to listen to an interview between Steve Harvey and two 100-year-old friends! I couldn’t hide my surprise at how two people could be by each other’s side for that long and still look straight into each other’s smiley faces, complete each other’s sentences and choose to be pals with each other for the rest of their lives. Considering the number of friendships I have had to terminate, it was a great challenge for me to reconsider what it was that I did differently. After lengthy research and interviews with people who have had long-term amities, I’m certain that I now have the complete recipe of forging meaningful friendships.
One of the mistakes that most of us make in companionships is that we look for qualities of a good friendship instead of building these qualities. In eth end, we end up being frustrated at most of the friends that we have and thus prefer to be by ourselves or ride along in pretentious friendships.
At this point in the article, I would like to stress that there is nothing as dehumanizing as wasting other people’s time in plastic friendships. If you took a second to consider how important friendships are, then you would turn a new leaf immediately. Many notable unions and relationships started from mere friendships. For instance, Bill and Hillary Clinton knew each other way from High School. The same is the case with Barrack and Michelle Obama who met when they were both in college. When you come to the business world, there are notable cases of friends who went up to build multi-million business empires.
It is correct to state that the friendships we have today have the potential of blooming into great interactions in the future. It is, therefore, prudent not to take them for granted. If you feel you are not in a position to play your part in a friendship, then it is only prudent that you remove yourself from the equation. But what does it mean to perform one’s role in a friendship? This the one-million-dollar question for many of us. Fortunately, my research will offer you simple, practical, and manageable pieces of advice that will help you be a perfect friend and enable the other party to give their best.
- Have Shared Qualities
It would be foolhardy to feel comfortable around a person with whom you cannot sustain a discussion or end an argument in good faith. In the same vein, a person who does not understand your jokes, your fashion tastes or even cultural inclinations will undoubtedly seem like a stranger all the time. Therefore, it is always more meaningful if you start a friendship with a person with whom you will feel comfortable. In most cases, you will share quirks, habits, ways of thinking and hobbies with such kind of people.
However, do not consider one’s physical appearance. Going into friendship with someone with the same color of eyes or height as yours is useless if you have nothing common in your personalities. In the same vein, do not discredit a person who does not share in your interests the very first time you meet. If such people are interested in knowing you more and learning aspects about your life, then they offer a great chance of being your long-term friends. With time, you will find both of you sharing many things in common.
- Have Fair Expectations from Your Friend
From the onset, it is essential to understand that in as much as you may have shared qualities, and there are still situations that will always place the two of you in different places. As a young person, there will be circumstances caused by hormones, school anxiety, family and identity. In this manner, it will be suffocating if you place a lot of expectations for your friend. When they fail to pick your calls at some moments, help you out with your assignments daily or accompany you to your favorite functions, do not get pissed off.
Instead, groom a friendship that thrives on giving. Always offer your friend support as much as possible without expecting anything in return. Inspire them, help them out with the home chores and school tasks and support them in their aspirations as much as possible. Such actions will reach deep into your friends being, and they will also try as much as possible to go out of their way for you.
- Avoid Irrational Jealousy
It is highly likely that your friend will have other friends too. In this manner, it will be debilitating on your side to feel so possessive of them. Remember that you should not expect your friend to reciprocate your actions. Therefore, when they are spending some time with other friends, or they do not visit you for some time, it would be irrational to start distancing yourself from them. Always stay assured that your friend will treat you the same way you treat them. Therefore, continue finding time for them and being helpful in whatever situation they may be going through and in the end, the same will come back to you-sometimes in unexpected ways.
A delicate situation in friendships is normally between people of the opposite sex. Sometimes, your feelings of jealousy may stem from a conscious or unconscious desire for you to date them. When such occurs, it is prudent that you soul search and find out exactly where you stand. If you feel there is an additional attachment to the person other than friendship, it is better you tell them frankly or else you will be in for emotional turmoil.
- Listen More than You Talk.
There is nothing that puts off a friend like a selfish monologue. The friend will feel neglected, unappreciated and uncared for. Therefore, always ensure that you have a productive dialogue with your friend especially by wanting to know how they are faring on. Talking less gives the platform for your friend to relay their frustrations, concerns, and aspirations which usually gives them a sense of relaxation. In the end, when you get a chance to air your views, they will listen intently in reciprocation to your initial careful listening. However, careful listening does not mean staying stone entirely through the conversations. Offer significant inputs to help your friend really what they have in mind.
- Show your Friend you are Proud of Them
There are various things you can do to show your friend that you care about them and hope to share the relationship for a long time coming. The best way to show them you are confident about your friendship is to introduce them to other friends and your family. This move is also necessary as there will be a presence of intermediaries in case you and your friend go through some misunderstandings. Moreover, through the other people, your friend will get a chance to know about your other attributes thus enable you two to blend seamlessly.
- Honesty is Important
The idea that keeping some information from a person is protecting them is misleading. Imagine if a scenario where someone withholds something about you. How will you feel? Definitely, you will be pissed off since revealing the information could have helped you find solutions. Therefore, when you are not totally honest with a friend, you make them feel the same way. Honesty also entails looking deep into your heart to determine whether you have the right motives in the friendship. If you are in it since the friend gives you popularity, financial favors or other benefits, then you should end the friendship. Friendships are for life and not convenience thus you should be involved in it through all the thick and thin that may come on your way. In this manner, if your motives are selfish, you are wasting the other party’s time.
7. Signs You Should Quit the Friendship
Even though the article emphasizes being proactive in sustaining friendships, various red flags will clearly show you that the friendship is not worth fighting for. However, wait for a persistent recurrence of these signs instead of acting immediately one of them emerges. First, when your friend continually compares you to his or her other friends then its time you let go. The situation is especially precarious when the comparison always puts you on the negative side. Second, if your friend does not listen to you at all, then you are in the wrong place. Third, in case your friend persistently criticizes you, but they don’t accept the same from you, then they are not worth keeping. Finally, friends with drastic changes in moods are a dangerous lot. The situation implies that they have not yet found a special place for you in their lives.
It is undeniable that finding the best friend is a dream of many. However, it will be a dream worth living if your friend acknowledges that you made the friendship work. Therefore, be patient, consistent and honest but also observant enough to know when it is not working.