People are born as social creatures. As such, we need constant interaction and a select few friends whom we can trust and share their thoughts and interests with. Friends can help you in many situations – whether as a simple companion to sip drinks with after work, or to provide advice and guidance when you are down. Keeping friends, however, requires some effort as well. Here are ways to maintain healthy friendships.
- Trust. Friendship is simply another type of social relationship. As with any other relationship, you should have friendships that are built on trust. There are plenty of people that you will interact with on a regular basis. One of the defining characteristics of a friend, however, is that he is a person that you can trust. Keep in mind, however, that developing trust happens in stages – you cannot expect someone to trust you completely just as you should not trust just about anyone. Apart from this, you should also remember that trust is something, which needs to be reciprocated.
- Communication. Another essential ingredient in a healthy friendship is communication. This does not only mean that you should be able to express your sentiments and thoughts to your friends directly and clearly. It also means that you should keep open lines of communication that will make you accessible for your friend. Knowing that you are available for talks and ready to listen is one of the best ways to earn someone’s trust, and will provide the opportunity to grow together through each other’s experience.
- Loyalty. Friends will also expect a degree of loyalty from you. This means that you should be willing and ready to stand up for your friends. Loyalty, however, does not have to go against what is morally right or wrong. Friends should not only support each other but should also be able to guide and help each other for improvement.
- Boundaries. Another great way to maintain healthy relationships is by setting specific boundaries. Healthy friendship means that you will learn to support your friends and help them out without compromising your own identity and your personal obligations. You should also be aware that your friends have their own boundaries that you can only bridge through time and experience.
- Treat accordingly. Keep in mind that there are different types of friends. There are friends that you keep because of their intelligence and the indispensable advice that they can dole out, and there are friends that you keep because of the shared experiences that you have had with them. You should know how to treat each type of friend, and you should also have a rough idea of how they will respond to your thoughts and ideas.
Finally, try to fit your friends into your schedule. Actual interaction is one of the best ways to maintain and improve relationships, including friends. If not possible, you should still maintain lines of communication, whether through social networking sites, phone calls, or simple letters. With these steps, you should be able to maintain a healthy and lasting friendship.