How to Make friends and keep them
Friends are so special
Making casual acquaintances is easy but not very rewarding. A real friend is a gem and truly worth keeping. How do you meet? How do you get to know this stranger who is going to be a friend? I'm going to talk you through it and see if I can help you to make the right moves toward friendship. It's worth a little effort because a good friend is priceless.
The photo is mine.
You've moved to a new city, make a friend
So how do you get to meet new friends and that special pal who will be there for you when things are tough and you can do the same for them. First thing, don't rush into it. Let it grow naturally. You may find someone at work that you click with, or it may be at some hobby like the gym. Join things you are going to enjoy, that way you will meet like minded people. It works at church too if you are into that. It's a matter of being relaxed and just getting into a chat with someone. It might take several weeks to gel but don't rush, it can put some people off. Don't panic, it will happen, but nobody wants a desperate friend, it's very off-putting.
Realise you have differences
When making friends there has to be give and take. If you are giving all the time it won't work and neither will it if you are taking all the time. You have to realise that you are different people whose likes and dislikes will not always correspond. You need to spend time together but you also need to allow each other space.
I have recently made a new friend and things are going well. She likes to be out doing things most days but I need time on my own at home quite often. We respect these differences. I can accompany her quite a lot of the week and she is happy with that and allows me my space. It has taken us about six months to let this friendship develop. She lost her husband about a year ago and I live on my own so that makes us suited.
Working at being friends
You have to work at being a friend. Think of how you can help the other person. However it has to be two way traffic. If you are doing all the work you will soon feel put upon, but it may be your own fault, maybe you are not allowing your new friend to do things for you. Maybe it is "more blessed to give than to receive" but you must allow your friend to get that blessing some of the time. So learn to gracefully accept when your friend wants to do something for you. Also if you don't want things to get claustrophobic spend time with mutual friends and learn to share each other with others. This is not a marriage you are in! Enjoy your independence some of the time. You are not joined at the hip and neither would either of you like to be. Do lots together, but not everything. The secret is to enjoy what one likes about each other, realise the bits you don't and give yourselves adequate space.
How long will you be friends?
It is important to realise that some friendships are only meant for a certain time. After this circumstances may pull you apart. One of you having to move will pull your friendship to a different level. You may keep in touch by phone or e-mail and even visit each other but it will never be quite the same. The advantage is that when you contact each other there will be lots of news to catch up on.There may even be the joy of re-uniting if circumstances bring you back together again.
I recently had a friend leave with no forwarding address or contact number. She had been through a difficult time here and just wanted to leave it all behind her and start again. She is a very friendly person and will have no trouble making new friends. I just hope that when she settles in her new surroundings she will make contact again and not see me as just part of the problems she had here. The worst thing I could do is to try finding her at this time. Maybe later I will come across someone who knows where she is and I may be able to contact her again, but I'm in no hurry, she needs space.
Some friends argue
I have a theory that your friendship has not reached a very high level until you can argue with each other. If you have a real friend you need to stand up for what you think and you will not always see things the same way. Having an argument with a friend is not the end of the road but just a cross roads. You will express your differences, may be getting a little heated but then move on and agree to differ and find you are on a higher plane in your friendship. Do not be afraid of arguing, it is healthy. However don't do it the second time you meet. Always try to part friends, but friends who have their own take on life. You are not identical twins and even they argue. If possible always see the funny side of an argument and be ready to say sorry if things have got out of hand. A true friend will take a bit of pushing the boundaries from you and push back just as hard
Playing silly games
One threat to friendship is when one friend behaves like a victim and the other rushes in to rescue them. This all seems very noble but the victim always turns on the rescuer and makes them into a victim. What strange people we are. If your friend starts to behave like this, and they won't realize they are doing it, you need to step back and see that the victim doesn't need rescuing and is quite capable of coping on their own. So instead of rushing in to help take a step back, be there for your friend if she or he really needs you, but don't rush in on your charger to rescue the maiden in distress. Some of us are attracted to needy behaviour like this. You just need to count to ten. If you rush in you will be putting your friendship at risk.