Solid friendships that are built on a foundation of affection, trust and support are valuable for everyone to have, as they allow humans to feel connected to one another within the world at large.
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Even if you are on the shyer side socially, making the effort to form just a few close friendships can greatly benefit your overall quality of life. Whether you are hoping to strengthen a friendship bond that already exists, looking to develop a deeper connection with a casual acquaintance or seeking tips on how to meet entirely new people, it helps to study some basic philosophies for achieving successful friendships before putting them into practice.
Follow these 20 guidelines on what to do in order to expand and enhance your social circle.
1. Avoid Carrying Baggage From Friendships That Have Ended
If you have had friendships in the past that ended on a negative note, it is a good idea to work through any emotional baggage that may remain. Remember to never project traits of former friends onto current ones.
2. Be Open To Forming Friendships With All Types Of People
Although friends do need to have at least a few interests in common, don’t limit yourself too much when seeking out new people to connect with. Open your mind to the possibility of making friends from all types of backgrounds.
3. Practice Kindness, Acceptance And Respect In Your Interactions
True friends accept one another for their similarities and differences and show respect for each other as people. Treat your friends with kindness in addition to being respectful and non-judgmental, as these are important building blocks for strong interpersonal relationships.
4. Show Your Authentic Self At All Times
When making a new friend, you may be tempted to embellish certain aspects of your life in order to seem more appealing, but this tactic usually backfires quickly. Be proud of your authentic self and always be honest about your personality.
5. Be Loyal To Your Friends
Healthy, long-lasting friendships have loyalty at their core, as most people do not wish to maintain close bonds with those who cannot be relied upon through thick and thin. Show your friends through your actions that you understand the importance of loyalty.
6. Do Nice Things For Others
Having a generous spirit means that you are happy to do nice things for your friends, whether they need a favor or you just feel like giving them a treat. Offer small gifts or help out with projects on occasion.
7. Make The Effort To Keep Friendships Going
Friendships require two-way effort and communication in order to flourish over time. Ensure that you are doing your part to sustain a friendship by reaching out via phone, email, social media or in person as often as you can.
8. Encourage Your Friends To Express Themselves
Just as you should feel free to be your authentic self, your friends should be encouraged to express themselves in their own special ways. Compliment a friend on a fun outfit or cheer them on at a sporting event.
9. Forgive Minor Grievances And Avoid Silly Arguments
Every relationship involves petty disagreements at one time or another, but friends with a solid connection can easily look past these minor events. Work hard to not hold a grudge over an inconsequential argument and just agree to disagree.
10. Offer Up Interesting And Enriching Conversation
People love to make friends with conversationalists who always offer up interesting and humorous commentary. Stay up to date on fascinating world events, and pepper your conversation with fun and engaging anecdotes about yourself and your life experiences.
11. Be Gentle When Addressing Sensitive Issues
When a friend is going through a difficult time or when you find yourself needing to broach a delicate topic, take care to deliver your thoughts in as gentle a way as possible. Use sensitivity and tact while talking and listening.
12. Avoid Being Overly Rigid In Regard To Making Plans
Making and keeping plans with friends works best when a balance of organization and flexibility is involved. Be understanding if a friend needs to change plans out of necessity – being too rigid and unwilling to compromise hurts a relationship.
13. Give Your Friends Space When They Ask For It
Even the strongest friendship bonds can ebb and flow periodically, and if a close friend of yours needs some space to themselves for a while, be accommodating. Time apart can help you both to appreciate each other more.
14. Be A Fun Person To Socialize With
Friends who thrive on social interaction are likely to gravitate to you if your personality is fun, spontaneous and laid-back. Enhance your friendships by planning adventurous outings, laughing and smiling a lot and being welcoming to any group newcomers.
15. Offer Support And Dependability
When someone whom you care about suffers a setback in life, such as the loss of a job or a death in the family, strive to be as supportive as you can. Be there for your friend physically and emotionally.
16. Don’t Turn Friendships Into Competitions
If your friends experience success, be genuinely happy for them rather than try to one-up them out of envy or a need to compete. People who are insecure enough to turn friendships into contests are generally not well-liked by many.
17. Apologize When You Have Hurt A Friend’s Feelings
Whether you act unintentionally or in the heat of a disagreement, hurting a friend’s feelings can be a tough hurdle to navigate if you wish to maintain your relationship. Apologize to your friend quickly, sincerely and with the intent to make things right.
18. Refrain From Gossiping About Your Friends
Talking about friends behind one another’s backs is a practice that is best left behind in the pre-teen years. Avoid hurtful gossip so that you won’t get a reputation within your friendship circle as someone who is not to be trusted.
19. Have Empathy And Compassion In Tough Times
Few things sting more in a friendship than when one friend seeks empathy and compassion only to be met with indifference, coldness or emotional distance. Express that you truly care about your friends’ circumstances and that you can relate to them.
20. Thank Your Friends For Their Positive Influence On Your Life
Sometimes, it’s great to be reminded of the reasons why your friends treasure your special bond. Tell your friends from time to time that you are grateful for the many ways in which they enhance your life.
Keep in mind that in some cases, even if you try your very best to create a strong friendship, you may find that you just do not click with a certain person at the level needed to maintain a long-term bond. Do not feel discouraged if this occurs; instead, focus your energy on the close friendships that you do have. Strive to choose friends who are also committed to keeping your mutual relationship in a positive, supportive and authentic place.