Five tips to maintain a good friendship

Who has a friend has a treasure.  There is so much truth in that phrase because being able to count on someone is a huge advantage in moments of both happiness and difficulty.  It has been demonstrated that people who count on social support are capable of confronting their difficulties in a more adaptive manner.

Nevertheless, not just any person can be considered a friend.  Have you ever thought about why you stay friends with some people?  Probably it seems strange to you to keep being friends with someone with whom you apparently have nothing in common.

With social media, it is easy to confuse the concept of friendship.  It seems like there are people who have a ton of friends, but is it better to have many or few friends?  What really defines friendship?

Five tips to maintain a good friendship

What is friendship?

Friendship is defined as an emotional link that two or more people establish.  It is a concept that changes throughout life.  If you remember when you were little, you probably had no problem considering people your friends, but now that you’re an adult, your idea of friendship has changed, and you take into account other values at the point of classifying someone in this more elite category.

Sometimes, people abuse this type of support and search for a “quid pro quo” equivalency in which because I offered you something, you now have to offer me something.  It is clear that in friendship, a mindset of “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” matters, but it doesn’t do to distort this reciprocity or abuse it.  Taking advantage of the goodwill of one’s friend can cause a rupture in the friendship.  Just because someone is a friend doesn’t mean that s/he has to act on all of our demands.

A true friendship is one in which the parties don’t keep track of the favors that they do for each other; instead, it is a relationship in which they offer help and don’t expect nothing in return.

Five tips to maintain a good friendship

Even though no expectation exists of a benefit for the other person, it appears that friendship acts as an emotional protector against malignant situations or people.  We say that friendship is a function that we human beings have developed due to our social nature; it helps us to stare down our difficulties.

Still, every individual person seems to have a different definition of friendship.  That concept changes according to our experiences and interests, and for the same reasons, we modify our friendships.  This explains why we lose friendships throughout our lives at the same time that we generate new ones.

The importance of friendship

Without a doubt, friendship is vital for our psychological well-being and our development as people.  From a very young age, friendship helps us learn how to relate to others.  It has been demonstrated that friendship satisfies a series of really pivotal functions in our lives:

  • It fortifies our immunological system by making it more resistant; there are even studies that show that social support strengthens biological factors that protect us from illnesses.
  • Social support influences our mood: counting on friends can help us to maintain a better emotional equilibrium.  Expressing how we feel with others reduces stress and improves our motivation, so we feel prepared to plan for and achieve our goals.
  • Friendship improves our self-esteem: having a real social network helps us to feel better about ourselves.  It promotes our confidence, and it facilitates self-awareness.  It permits us to reflect on how we conduct ourselves with others and on what we expect out of our friendships.  All of this information can help us to improve our present relationships and to prepare us for future ones.

Five tips to maintain a good friendship

How to maintain a friendship

There is no exact recipe to be able to maintain a durable friendship.  There are many factors in play: the person, the situation, the time in one’s life … In any case, it seems there are certain steps that one has to take to initiate and strengthen friendships.

  • Open yourself to others.  An important part of forging friendships is sharing your feelings and opinions.  Only on that level can we come to understand our friends and create real bonds with them.  To be able to reach that level of intimacy, we need to attend to the signals that the other person is sending.  More than anything, we need to feel prepared and willing to share more personal matters with our friends.
  • Be interested in other people.  Try to concern yourself with what is happening in the lives of your friends; ask them from time to time how they’re doing.  Look for moments to mutually share updates with them.
  • Tell your friends what you like about them.  Tell them how you feel in their company; they’ll surely respond by sharing what they appreciate about you.  Additionally, learning to recognize the qualities that you appreciate in other people enables you to recognize what you admire about yourself.
  • Share interesting activities with other people.  Practicing hobbies and interests that you like can help you to meet people with similar interests.  Moreover, sharing experiences with your friends is a good way of getting to know them, and it can help you reinforce your friendship.
  • Be humble in your expectations.  Sometimes, we can get disappointed when our friends don’t live up to the expectations that we have of them.  Not everyone has the same conceptions of friendship; not everyone shares the same values.  It is very important that you communicate with your friends  so that they can understand how you feel.  This dialogue can also help you to understand how they feel, and everyone can adjust their expectations accordingly.
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