How to Have Good Friends
Good Friends Are Without Price
Why Friendships Are Important...
A question from a young friend (11 years old) having trouble at school got me thinking about how we make friends from childhood onwards and how our friends influence our life. Good friends can make such a difference in your life from just providing company through to introducing you to more friendships, new activities and possibly job opportunities. Mainly though, spending time with good friends is just a wonderful part of life. Because everyone is different and every friendship is made up of many ingredients the following are just of few of the common threads in good friendships.
Choose Your Friends Well
You don't want to have a group of friends who are all exactly like you. You also don't want to have friends whose values are so far apart from yours that they are a constant source of conflict. If you think about things like your attitude to money, politics, religion, manners and very importantly what your expectations are of friendships, then there are some people you will get on well with and some you won't. While it's great to have a diverse group of friends, if a particular friend constantly upsets you, criticizes you or simply doesn't contribute much value to the friendship, then you might like to look elsewhere for company. While no one is at their best all the time, friends should be people that you look forward to seeing and spending time with.
Be Open to Making New Friends
Where do you find friends? Everywhere, pretty much. In queues at the supermarket, at school, at work, your neighbors. Smile and pass the time of day with people and you will soon find things in common. Sometimes accepting lots of invitations, even when you don't think you would particularly enjoy the events, leads to meeting people that you wouldn't have otherwise come across and that just could turn out to be lifelong friends.
Sheldon's take on making friends...
What are You Contributing to the Friendship?
If you ask your friends what they value you about you, you might get some surprising answers. In any friendship though things like keeping in contact, listening to what's happening in their world and being happy for their successes and empathetic when they have troubles are some good ways to maintain your friendships.
Remember That Your Friends Have a Life Too
People often get upset with their friends over issues like missed birthdays, turning up late to social occasions and being out of contact for long periods of time. Good friends realise that life happens! People get married, have children, take on new jobs, move house and have a constant stream of positive and negative events in their life. If they don't have time for you right now be respectful of whatever is happening in their world and catch up at a better time. Similarly if you are in the middle of major life events, unless you want or need support (or help celebrating) it is reasonable to explain that it's not a good time right now but you'd love to catch up later.
Enjoy Your Friends
Friendships are made of sharing good times together (and the bad times too). Making time to spend with people you like, even if it's just a phone call or a coffee, can add a sparkle to any day. Whatever is happening in your life, major events or nothing at all, sharing some of it with your friends is one of life's greatest pleasures.