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Summary: Learn how you can strengthen and build on your existing friendships in this article.
Through life experience, you’ve probably come to realize that friendships are incredibly important and give a greater meaning to life. Although they can certainly come with hardships, as any relationships do, friendship and companionship helps to reduce your stress levels, increase your happiness, and improve your self-worth. Good friends can hold you accountable to being a better version of yourself or even serve as a role model in certain aspects of your life.
Friendship, however, can be difficult to grow in this day and age where we often spend more time in front of a screen than we spend with people face to face. Having good friends means being a good friend. If you want to improve your friendships then you’ll want to improve how you treat your current friends. Here are a few tips to help you build better friendships for a better life.
Hold space. This phrase may seem confusing at first, but “holding space” for someone means giving them an opportunity to speak to you and to share their thoughts, dreams and concerns without judgement. You don’t have to “fix” anything, give them advice or act as their therapist. Oftentimes, we just want to be heard. Start off small until you’ve built a real trust between you and a friend where you can simply share without fear of repercussions.
Remember the little things. People want to feel special. As a good friend, it’s important to make those in your life feel special. Follow the golden rule: treat your friends the way you’d want to be treated. Remember their birthdays, of course, but also small things like asking them how a big meeting at work went or how their ill family member is doing. Let them know that you really listen to what they’re telling you and that you care about how they’re doing.
Forgive. We’re all human and, as humans, we tend to hold grudges against one another quite easily. When you have a real friendship, you have to know that someone might lash out at you in anger when, in reality, it wasn’t anything personal to you. We often subconsciously let our frustrations out on those we trust and love the most because we know that they won’t leave us despite these shortcomings. Know that a true friend probably didn’t mean you harm and forgive them when they’ve treated you poorly in a rough time.
Keep to your promises. Friendship is all about trust. If you give your word to your friend, whether it is something small like showing up to their dinner party or big like keeping an important secret, you have to keep it. If your friends are disappointed by you time and time again, they will grow distant because they’ll feel as if they can’t trust you and that you don’t care enough about the friendship to try. If you say you’re going to do something, make sure you follow through or let them know ahead of time, with good reason, why you won’t be able to do so.
Celebrate. True friendship is about lifting up your friends, no matter your own circumstances. Learn how to let go of jealousy and focus on feeling true joy for your friend’s success. Celebrate your friends when something is going well in their life or they’ve accomplished something important, making sure they know you are genuinely happy about their happiness.
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