Our friendships are everything to us because they define who we are. They define what we do and what we buy, and even define what paths we take in life. The sad thing is that as our lives move forward, our friend are pushed down our priority list. This is not something we would want, especially since our friends are the ones who keep us sane in this totally insane world. The good news is there are steps we can take that could help us nurture our friendships and make them flourish. They are not a formula, but they sure can help us sustain our relationships with our friends during seasons in our lives when changes are taking place.
Spend Your Energy and Resources on People Who Respect You
You have heard it many times that you can’t choose your family, but you sure can choose your friends. For this reason, it’s crucial that you choose your friends wisely, because they will be the ones you are going to spend most of your energy and resources on. Yes, it’s important to show love and respect to everyone, but you will deprive those who deserve your valuable time the most if you spread yourself too thin by not consciously choosing which people and relationships to concentrate on. Be smart enough by choosing to surround yourself with friends who respect and love you, who value you and make time you spend with them worthwhile.
Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them do Unto You
It’s no wonder that these words make up the Golden Rule. If you want others to treat you with respect, make sure you treat them with respect as well. If you want others to be honest, loyal, and faithful to you, be honest, loyal, and faithful to them, too. It’s impossible to receive what you do not give, so if you want your friends to be a safe haven and people you can rely on, be that person first. Be there for them in their darkest hours. Celebrate with them in their victories. They will do the same thing for you without having second thoughts.
Prioritize Your Relationships
Nothing in this world is more valuable than relationships. A friend told me the other day, “Invest in people, and not in material things.” It makes a lot of sense, because while a broken phone or car can be replaced anytime, broken relationships cannot, at least not as easy as replacing something that can be purchased by money. How do you prioritize relationships, though? They say that little children spell love as T-I-M-E. In friendships, love is also spelled the same way. It’s easy to fall into the habit of putting your friends off and telling them, “I promise to meet with you next time.” The thing is, you cannot find time, not in your busy schedule. So, what do you do? You make time. You can do this by organizing future get-togethers when you are together.
Value Other People’s Uniqueness
There is no better way to managing relationships than to accept people for who they are. The moment you realize that not all your friends are good with conversations, or that some just have a knack for getting things wrong all the time, you will learn to love them more. Practice seeing only the good in others, and you will be more content with your relationships.
Be Slow to Anger
Drama is inevitable in any relationship. One moment you’re in cloud nine with your best friend, the next moment you are having a relationship-ending argument. This is part of life and something that you should expect. You are living in an imperfect world habituated by imperfect people. For this reason, don’t expect your relationships to be perfect. The key, however, is to be empathetic, to be slow to anger, and to be quick to forgive. Stay calm in times of disagreement and avoid making mountains of molehills.
Accept the Fact That Friendships Sometimes End
While it’s possible to keep most of your friends from your youth, some friendships simply change or end. Some of your friends may move to a different city or may have a change in career, which eventually leads to you not having anything in common anymore. It’s up to you to decide whether you would still want to connect to those people or not. You would be surprised to know, however, that the chemistry you once had would still be there if you give it a chance. Find out by connecting with friends you haven’t talked to for a very long time.
It’s impossible to love others and be a friend to them if you do not love yourself. You simply cannot give which you do not have. If you feel that you are always taken advantage of, perhaps it’s because you do not see how valuable you are as a person. Love and respect yourself, and realize how unique and special you are, and people will treat you the same.
I am not a relationship expert myself, but I see to it that I follow these guidelines as much as I can. How about you? What one advice would you give that you believe would help form and sustain a fabulous friendship?
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