I Have No Friends
"I have no friends." That's the lament I've heard over the years, from various associates. When I was a young girl, I had friends, who said I was their only friend, or some who would say they had no friends. Through the years, I've experienced the same thing over and over again. For some, friendship is a precious, elusive commodity, that no matter how hard they try, they can never acquire it, and if acquired, it's not sustainable. You see, friendship is not automatic, it must be cultivated and nurtured. So when that statement is made, it could mean, time and effort hasn't been extended sufficiently enough to accomplish their goal.
Have you ever said, "I have no friends," or felt that way? If so, have you ever analyzed why that could be the case? Does it seem, no matter how hard you try you cannot maintain a quality relationship with anyone for any length of time? Have you said "I've tried, but, I can't make friends, no matter what I do?" Have you ever given thought, maybe it could begin and end with you?
Let's examine why it might be that we don't have friends. When some say they don't have friends, they may not mean it in the truest sense of the word, they have associates, but no one they can share their inner most feelings with. No one they can call on in a moment of need, either emotionally or otherwise. So, if you mean, no real friends, that can be remedied. It's been said, to have a friend, you must be a friend. My take on that is, you will first have to act like a friend, meaning do the things for others that you want done for you. For instance, if you want a shoulder to cry on, you must provide one, if you want a listening ear, you must have one, if you need a helping hand, extend one. In other words, apply the Golden Rule, do to others as you want them to do to you.
A few suggestions. Laugh when someone laughs, practically speaking, if your desired friend has no sense of humor whatsoever, but they think they do, what's the harm in laughing when they tell, what they think is a funny story. Try to find humor in the things they find humor in, cultivate a liking for the things they find funny. It's not hard, just put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you told your funniest joke or story, that always made you crack up, and no one laughed. See, that wasn't hard, was it. What if your "friend" came to you needing a shoulder to cry on, and you only cry when you're sad. Well, pretend that it is you this time, pretend, what your "friend" is saying is actually happening to you. Are you feeling it now? If so go on shed a few tears. Now, your friend comes to you in dire need, but you've made it a practice to never loan money to anyone, for any reason. Well, don't loan them anything, just give it to them, (providing of course you can afford it). Remember, this is a person you feel is worthy of your calling them a friend, they've proven themselves, and, they are deserving of any one's friendship. Ta, dah, you've got a friend, and you know why, because you've acted like a friend.
Now that you've acquired that new friend, how do you sustain the friendship? Remember what you did to acquire the friend, then pile it on, go overboard. I was told by a wise older woman when I was young, "Fake it til you make it," meaning act like you like the things they like, feel the way they feel. In time it will be real, think about it as practice. Let's say you're proficient in a particular area, were you born that way, or did you acquire the skill through diligent study and, or, practice? See, you can apply that to your efforts in maintaining the precious new friendship you've acquired. One real important element in keeping this friendship is never, never, betray a confidence. You see, once the trust is broken, there is no going back. Think about it, maybe you've had someone come to you and say, "they told me not to tell anyone, but I'm only telling you, and when you tell somebody else, tell them not to tell anybody else." I'm adding a little levity here, but you can see where I'm going with this, be a confidant, if you want one.
Another all important element is, don't wear your feelings on your sleeves, or be too thin skinned. Some of us have a tendency to speak before we think, not meaning any harm, so don't take everything they say to heart, try to understand why, what was said, was said. In some cases, just let it go, and if you can't do that, sit down and have a heart to heart, get it all out in the open. You'll probably find that they didn't mean it the way it came out, or maybe they had their facts wrong, in other words, give them a break, after all you would want one too.
The importance of listening can't be over emphasized, listening with, not just your ears, but with your heart, not planning on your next statement. Don't wait with bated breath for your turn to tell your story, it's all about them at this point. Don't have one better, no matter how anxious you are to tell a similar story, one that can top theirs, one day you'll have a chance to tell your story, then you'll want them to give you their undivided attention. Listen carefully, it might be all they want, not advice. So, don't give advice if it's not solicited. You see, your friend just might need a listening ear at this time, and think, they picked you to. Wow! You got a friend, now be one.
One more thing, don't smother them, don't hold on to them for dear life, you've got them now. Don't be the voice at the other end of every phone call they get. Don't always show up unannounced. Don't expect to be invited to every event in their life, or go everywhere with them. You see, they may have other friends, that they would like to associate with, without you. So Just keep in mind, no one wants a shadow that's not their own.
So now you've acquired your new friend, and you've got the technique down, you can replicate it. Pretty soon you can be the friend to the friendless. So, the statement "I have not friends," won't apply to you.
- Making And Keeping Friends - Making Friends, National Mental Health Information Center
Making And Keeping Friends - Making Friends
- How To Make Friends At Your New School
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© 2009 Alfreta Sailor