We find as we get older that friends will come and go throughout the various stages of our lives. Friendships are important for many reasons, not least the fact that they help us define our priorities and steer our thoughts and behaviours in a positive direction. Strong friendships can be formed in many different situations - we've completed a list that will help you build friendships that will last the course of time.
Be yourselfIt can be easy to take on a more outgoing personality in order to try to make friends but people can see through this facade. The best way to make true friends is to be yourself so that the friends you make will like you for the right reasons. The easiest way to achieve this can be to meet over a shared activity as the pressure is off and your shared interest will make it easier to forge a friendship without trying too hard.
Give and takeGiving and taking is the key to friendships that stand the test of time. The best friendships will allow you to ask for help when you need it and feel able to offer support when your friend is in need. Try to look at things through your friend's eyes from time to time. If they're struggling - ask if you can lend a hand. They may not take you up on your offer, but that doesn't mean they won't appreciate it. We all look for similar traits in friends - kindness, dependability, loyalty. Be the kind of friend you seek!
Make time for your friendshipDepending on your stage of life, it can be hard to find time to nurture your friendships. Don't take your friends for granted. Make the effort with each of your friends so they know you're still there.
Nobody likes to feel used, so don't ignore your friends until you want something from them. There are so many ways to keep in touch with people - social media, texting, emails, phone calls. There really is no excuse for radio silence. Keeping the lines of communication open lets your friends know that you are thinking about them. It's ok to ask for favours, but not all the time!
Stay positiveOur friends are there for us when we're feeling down - they help us get back up and carry on. Try not to moan to your friends but rather look at problems together and how you can overcome them. Friends can be great sounding boards and can help guide us in the right direction - let them lift you up!
Be honestSometimes friendships can waver due to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Be upfront with your friends and try to sort out disagreements before they hurt your friendship. Don't try and second guess what is going on or what they may be thinking. Ask them and remember to be kind! If your friend is hurt, try to understand why. Sorting things out straight away can save things getting out of control.
Have fun with your friends!Lasting friendships are built on shared interests and experiences. Spend time together, share experiences and have a laugh together! This is what will stand the test of time.
For some tips on how to find new friends in a digital world, read our previous blog post.