Friendship is just like any other close relationship. It requires you to put in the effort to make it work.There comes a time in our lives when we feel our bonding with friends isn’t as strong as it used to be. And we miss having those friendships.
Many studies describe staying connected to other people as a “core human need.” And that’s when your friend comes in.
According to columnist and speaker Frank Crane, “A friend is someone with whom you dare to be yourself.”
So, if you want to revive an old friendship or nurture an existing one, here a few tips to help you strengthen your bond.
1. Stay Connected
Author, Bronnie Ware, an Australian palliative nurse, reveals in her book, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying” that among the most common regrets of dying people is, “I wish I had stayed in touch with friends.”
She also observed that many people she cared for “carried many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved.”
It means staying connected doesn’t always mean meeting your friends and loved ones in person. You can also stay in touch with them through phone calls, text messages, quick emails, online chatting, and video calls.
As an old cliché says, “when there’s a will, there’s a way.”
2. Hang Out
Try to hang out with your friends at least once in a while.
Even though social media and technology have made it easier for us to connect without needing to meet in person. But nothing can replace a physical meeting with your friends or loved ones.
For this, you can schedule a weekly or monthly meet-up. You can even meet every Easter or Christmas.
3. Show Appreciation
Nothing strengthens your bond with your friends more than appreciation does.
Show appreciation for every little effort they make. Show appreciation for their work or anything that matters to them.
4. Be a Good Listener – Lend an Ear
Make out time to listen to your friends intently. Sometimes, they are going through a rough patch in life and need to vent about their stressful work or maybe their recent breakup.
Make sure to listen to them without any interruptions, without offering any advice (until and unless they want you to).
Sometimes, all people want is someone to hear them out, without any interruptions, without any judgments. They are not necessarily looking for advice. Just try to become a good listener to them.
According to Karl A. Menninger,
“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”
5. Respect Boundaries
Do you know what they say about boundaries?
Strong friendships require strong boundaries.
So, every healthy relationship has to have some boundaries.
For instance, when your friend is facing crises in her life, it’s your responsibility to let her know when and how you can offer her support.
Likewise, if you don’t answer phone calls during working hours or respond to text messages only on your lunch break, inform her of these habits.
Similarly, don’t expect her to answer your phone call immediately or when you call her at odd hours.
So, you need to set and respect boundaries to nurture your friendship.
6. Accept Their Individuality
Love and show respect for who your friends are.
Embrace your friend’s individuality. Don’t try to change him/her to suit your idea of a friendship.
7. Be Mindful of Their Feelings
Finally, be mindful of your friend’s feelings. Back and forth, banter or selective listening is the most common reason why people are not able to sustain their friendships for long.
Sometimes, it’s hard to resist the temptation to interrupt and finish their sentences because you know them too well. But remember that even a casual comment here and there can hurt their feelings.
Likewise, be mindful of what comes out of your mouth. Sometimes, an interaction can turn into an interrogation rather than a conversation. And a joke or a difference of opinion can turn into a nasty argument, which can prevent you from forging a strong connection and true intimacy.
These are some of the many tips you can follow to maintain your friendship. But friendship is a living art — get creative in maintaining your friendships!