8 Tips for Building Lasting Friendships

October 10, 2016

Friends are everything – the people you laugh with, the people you share your deepest secrets with, and the people you talk about life with until two in the morning. Most of us are aware of the value friends bring to our lives, but how often do we stop to think about how we can improve our friendships?

It’s been said that friends are the family you choose. Once you make this choice, you have a responsibility to make the most of the friendship. Building stronger relationships can help you create unforgettable experiences and live a more fulfilling life!

Respect the Golden Rule

The golden rule states that you should:

Treat others how you would like to be treated.

Pretty simple, right?

Honestly, this whole article could probably be summed up with this simple philosophy. Most of us know how others want to be treated because we have the same expectations for ourselves. By doing your best to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, it will be easier to be respectful, kind, and empathetic.

We all know how others want to be treated because we often have the same expectations for ourselves. Click To Tweet

Focus on the Bigger Picture

Friendships are formed through the bond that is created after a series of interactions. It is not always how long you have known someone but rather the closeness and camaraderie that you feel. These interactions can be both positive and negative, and if the positives outweigh the negatives, a friendship is born. Trying to avoid all of the negatives would be impossible. In many cases, however, you have the power to control whether an interaction is positive or negative.

For example, let’s say your friend wants to see a movie but you want to go to a concert. You could spend your time arguing about how concerts are much more enthralling than movies OR you could decide to have fun at the movies instead. This isn’t to say that you always need to concede to the preferences of others, but learning to pick your battles is the best way to maintain your friendships. Focus on whether issues really matter in the overall scheme of things.

Maintain Balance

A friendship is all about balance.

You are there for your friends and they are there for you. This relationship requires effort from both parties. It is a give and take two-way street. No one wants to feel that he/she is the only one keeping the friendship alive.

It is important that friends take turns choosing what to do, paying, or driving, in order for both parties to feel a sense of balance. Making sure that both people get their needs met through the friendship is crucial to maintaining a long lasting positive relationship.

Balance is a sign of respect and equal commitment. While an imbalanced relationship may not be an issue in the short-term, friends are bound to catch on to inequity in the long-run. Maintaining equilibrium is not only the right thing to do, but it also allows you to build a stronger friendship.

Friendship Balance

Have Fun

Think back to some of your best memories with friends. You were probably doing something together that was invigorating, adventurous, or exciting.

Nostalgia doesn’t favor monotony or negativity. Stray from your routine and focus on creating positive experiences. Just because your friends will listen to you vent about your problems for hours, doesn’t mean you should turn a friendship into a series of therapy sessions! Remember to do things that make you feel alive. This will help you create eternal memories that will fuel the friendship for years to come.

Nostalgia doesn’t favor monotony or negativity. Stray from your routine and create positive experiences. Click To Tweet

Friends Having Fun

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Here’s a little life secret that will go a long way. No one is perfect, so holding others to impossible standards creates unrealistic expectations. People will never see eye-to-eye on everything and the occasional disagreement is inevitable. That said, don’t sweat the small stuff, especially when it comes to friends.

Learn to let things go and forgive. Decide what your goal is before addressing the small things. Most of the time, dropping things will be better for your friendship in the long-run.

Be Considerate

Above all else, people remember how they feel when they are with you and how you treat them. Always try to be conscious of your friends’ feelings and moods, and act accordingly. Here are some tips for being a considerate friend:

  • Follow-through when you’ve made plans with your friend.
  • Be inclusive of your friends in group settings.
  • Be empathetic and offer support when it’s needed.
  • Be that person that your friends can always count on.
  • Show appreciation when friends do something for you.
  • Reciprocate favors.

Share Mutual Interests (or Express Interest)

Sharing mutual interests with your friends is the basis of many relationships especially in the beginning. Having things in common leads to interesting conversation and makes it easier to plan activities together. For example, music enthusiasts can talk about their favorite artists for hours and football fans can discuss sports statistics for days on end. This common ground can help build a strong friendship.

Of course, you don’t have to share every interest, but always respect your friends’  love for or involvement in the things that are important to them. Don’t have any interest in your friend’s new rock climbing hobby? Well, that’s okay. Simply expressing interest will show that you care!

Friends With Mutual Interests

Be Loyal

Loyalty is an unspoken bond that is the cornerstone to any healthy relationship. You do favors for your friends because you know they would do the same for you. Similarly, you go to bat for your friends because you know they would go to bat for you.

Loyalty builds a level of trust that helps you differentiate between your good friends and your best friends. What does loyalty mean? Here are a few rules of thumb:

  • Never talk about someone behind his or her back.
  • If a friend confides in you, take it seriously and protect his or her secret.
  • Make an effort to stay in touch with friends and maintain the friendship.
  • If you have prior plans with your friend, never throw them under the bus for a better offer.
Loyalty builds a level of trust that helps you differentiate between good friends and BEST friends. Click To Tweet