You’ll make new friends in each stage of your life. Some of them will come and go, while others will last for the rest of your life. You’ll make friends as a child, in college, when you enter the workforce, when you have children and when you make other life changes.
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This is because you tend to gravitate toward people with whom you have things in common, which naturally changes during the various stages of your life. If you make a friend that you never want to let go of, there are some things you can do to ensure that the relationship lasts as long as you both are alive. The type of friend you have will play a role in how you go about keeping them as a friend. Here are some tips that can help.
Understand That Friendships Change
Maybe when you first become friends you spend all your time together and have a ton of things in common. Sometimes as your life changes, these friendships can fizzle out, but they don’t have to. Understanding that your friendship will change with time ensures that you make an effort to stay connected. Maybe one of you gets married, moves to a new city or has a baby. That can change what’s important to each of you, but you can still remain friends because many of the things you shared before the change will still be a part of your relationship.
You may have to make more of an effort now, but you can keep the friendship going, no matter what changes in each of your lives. Maybe now it looks like dinner or drinks once a month instead of hour-long phone conversations several times each week.
As a friend you want to be understanding of life changes and the way, your friendship evolves over time. But if you want the friendship to stay a priority in your life, you will both have to demand time from the other. You don’t have to be mean or harsh to get this done. Make a point of creating time for just the two of you so that you can focus on each other without the distractions of kids, spouses, jobs or other obligations. Demand that you are each other’s priority from time to time and you should be able to stay friends for a lifetime.
Find What You Have In Common
What brought the two of you together might not be something you share in common forever. If you met in a college literature class, you probably had that in common to start out. As life goes on one of you may have landed a job in finance and the other may be a stay at home mother. Or one of you may live in your old college town and one of you may have moved further away. Make a point of finding what you have in common now so that the relationship can continue.
Maybe you both love reading classic novels or you both have a passion for vintage cars. Finding what you share gives you the opportunity to nurture and foster your friendship during all the phases of your life.
Forget About A Set Plan
Perhaps when you were new friends you had a standing date to get drinks every Friday night or you spent Saturday mornings browsing your local antique shops. That might not always be possible, and it would be sad to let your friendship go just because those plans don’t work out anymore. Instead of staying set in your ways, learn to be flexible and make plans that work for you at the time, even if they are different each time. Maybe you have coffee after work or you meet on your lunch break for a walk.
Maybe you bond while folding laundry at one of your homes. Whatever it is, you have to be open to making plans that fit the time and place rather than always doing the same thing when you’re together.
Friendships can be destroyed when both parties aren’t honest. Make time to be open with each other on a regular basis. This gives you the chance to share what’s going on in each of your lives. It also keeps communication open so that you can discuss problems you may be having with the other person and helps you come up with ways to stay true to each other and remain friends no matter where life takes you. Talking things through is a major part of having a healthy friendship, and staying honest with each other prevents feelings of betrayal and mistrust that can ruin your partnership.
Sometimes things will get in the way of your friendship, and there may even be times when you put things on hold. Having compassion for each other during these times ensures that you’ll find your way back to each other when the time is right. Many life changes can make fostering friendships hard, and being compassionate to one another when this happens keeps feelings of anger and hurt feelings from keeping either of you from keeping the relationship strong.
There are many benefits of having strong friendships, so making sure you keep those that are important to you can make your quality of life better. According to experts, many people regret not keeping friendships going, so making time for yours is vital to a long, healthy life. People who have healthy friendships tend to enjoy life more and may even live longer than people who are lonely and don’t have quality partnerships.
If you are lacking in good friendships, it’s not too late. There are a lot of ways to make new friends that can stay with you for the rest of your life. Look for people who share things with you. If you have kids, join a mom’s group, or sign your child up for classes where you’ll naturally meet other parents. You can also make friends with people you work with. You share your career and will have a lot to talk about while also having built-in opportunities to spend time with each other. Sign up for a cooking or dancing class, and you’ll meet people who share the same passions you do.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to let a friendship go, even if you’ve been friends for a long time. If one party isn’t making an effort to keep things going, it can lead to feelings of hurt and betrayal, and it might be time to let things cool off and pursue other friendships. While this can be sad, it can also improve your quality of life and encourage you to focus on the partnerships that are healthy and where both of you are committed to keeping it going for your entire life.