Friendships enrich our lives with companionship, support and love. The wrong friends bring us down, though, and affect our physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Because friends are crucial, here are a few ways you can cultivate better quality friendships.
Choose friends wisely.
Look for friends who share your interests, balance your personality and uplift you. And remember that it is okay and healthy to break off friendships with people who are toxic or no longer involved in your life.
Make time to connect.
Quality friendships require intentional relationship building, which takes time. So, be available for your friends and participate in their lives. Send and reply to texts, schedule face-to-face meetings, and plan fun outings. Also, meet their families, celebrate important events like birthdays and learn about their interests.
Maintain your own standards.
Commit to being who you genuinely are. Real friends will like, accept and enjoy the real you. And you can expect the same authenticity in return as you commit to building quality friendships that last.
Practice trusting behaviors.
True friendship means you have each other’s backs. So, choose friends and become a friend who practices trusting behaviors like dependability, responsibility and integrity. For example, keep your word and refuse to lie to or about your friends. Likewise, defend friends when they’re criticized. And protect secrets and resist sharing or listening to gossip.
It’s easy to do all the talking when you are excited about a topic or need to process a challenge. But also give your friends time to talk. Then, listen carefully. Pay attention to their words and body language, and reply after they finish sharing.
Give and receive help.
Asking for help and sharing deep feelings requires vulnerability. These features are essential in quality friendships, so become willing to give and receive support and help.
Friendship can help you grow as a person if you can share feedback. For example, a true friend will point out the lettuce in your teeth before you leave the table. Likewise, quality friendships allow both parties to discuss hurtful comments or problematic behavior patterns.
Set and respect boundaries.
Like all healthy relationships, quality friendships require guidelines about how you will treat each other. That means you may need to set limits on the topics you discuss or the hours you’re available. Also, agree not to use your friendship as free therapy. These and other boundaries help you create a mutually satisfying, nurturing and emotionally healthy relationship.
Resolve conflict maturely.
Every friendship will experience conflicts and disagreements. Instead of nurturing resentment and unforgiveness, talk to each other in a respectful, mature manner. Share your perspective using “I feel, want, need, see” statements. Also, be willing to apologize. Seek to resolve the conflict without guilt, shame or emotional blackmail as you build a deeper connection.
To have better quality friendships, be a good friend. Treat people the way you want to be treated, and you’ll attract the quality friends you deserve, desire and need.