Humans were created with an innate need for connection. Relationships are important to us. Psychology has shown the importance of relationships in our lives and how we can thrive from them. How can you become a better friend and develop healthy relationships with your friends? We can’t choose our families, but we can choose our friends. We have a great role in choosing the kind of friendships we bring into our lives.
Becoming a better friend
Show up for your friends
Show up for your friends when they need you. Let them know that they can count on you. This does not necessarily have to be shown in words but in action. When you constantly show up for your friends, they know they can count on you if they need to and trust you. They know that you will always be in their corner no matter what. This forms a strong bond of friendship.
Don’t gossip about your friends
Your friends trust you with their problems, it is your responsibility to hold the information that they give you in confidence. Don’t go around gossiping about your friends. This makes you look untrustworthy to others since if you can gossip about your friends, what else you can do? Should your friend know that you gossiped them, they will also lose their trust in you. Avoid talking about your friends to others and let them know that you can always hold information about them in confidence.
Check on your friends often
Sometimes, your friends are going through tough times and they don’t want to burden you with it. Some friends can be depressed and you interpret their silence as withdrawal from you. Often, they could be struggling with something that you are not aware of. Always check on your friends. If you notice that a week has flown by and you haven’t talked to them, check on them through a call or a visit. Maybe all that they need is to see someone make them feel that they matter.
Don’t push them to do what they don’t want to do
Don’t push your friends to do something that they clearly don’t want to do. If you want to plan a friends’ vacation for example, and your friend tells you that they don’t want to, don’t force them into it. Maybe they are holding back because of their financial position at the moment. Maybe they are not in a mental state to enjoy a vacation. If you are pushing them to go for a night of dancing and drinking and they clearly don’t want to, don’t force them to do it. Respect their choices and even join them in doing what they want.
Don’t use your friends’ secrets against them
When your friends tell you their personal information is because they trust you. Knowing this, don’t use their secrets against them. Don’t bring up stuff they told you all the time. Don’t use this information to make them feel inferior or inadequate. Don’t blackmail them or guilt-trip them into doing what you want simply because you possess some information that you can use against them. Instead, let them know that their secrets are safe with you. Even better, don’t bring it up unless your friend brings it up.
Have fun together
Sometimes you need to have some fun with your best buds to develop a better relationship. When you have fun, you create memories that will bond you for a long time. Take holidays together, travel together, watch a movie or a play together, and do fun activities that you have in common together. The memories you form in such time will bond your friendship for a long time.
Stay out of their relationships
If you can’t leave your friend with your significant other, then that person is not your friend. A real friend should be someone that you can trust that they can’t damage your relationship with your partner. While you can make some comments or advise your friend about certain relationships matters, most times, stay out of it. Unless your friend is being abused emotionally, physically, or such, stay out of the relationship. Don’t try to get between your friend and her partner. Don’t tell the partner bad things about your friend. Stay out of it and respect that your friend can handle their relationships responsibly.
Separate your friendship and your money
Money can hurt all kinds of relationships be it friendships, marriages, and even sibling relationships. If you can, keep your money separately. Pay for your own tab, don’t borrow from your friend unless you really have to. If you do, depending on the amount of money, you may have to sign an agreement and treat the transaction professionally. Let everyone keep their money separately and don’t let the money come between you two.
Maintain healthy boundaries
No matter how close you are, maintain some boundaries in your friendships. Maintain boundaries in personal space, money, relationships, families, and the like. Just because you are close with your friend doesn’t mean you need to meddle into her family affairs. You shouldn’t take their money because ‘they are your friends’. Healthy boundaries will help you develop stronger and better relationships with those that you love.
Are you tied to the hip with your BFF? Maybe this is not a very good thing! Observe for the signs that you are in a codependent friendship. If you can’t make a decision without your friend’s input, or you make their pain your pain, you could be having a codependent friendship. If you fight all the time but can’t seem to end your friendship, watch out for that kind of dependency. If one of you is feeding off the other, and the other is exhausted with all the leeching, then that’s codependency. A healthy friendship is one in which each individual is independent and you don’t feed off each other.
Enjoy your friendships! Friendship is a beautiful thing!