Friendship: Establishing and Maintaining Friends for Life
Establishing and maintaining lifelong friends is not an easy task. It takes effort and energy. However, it can be one of the most fulfilling, happiest, and perhaps even profitable ventures that you will ever undertake in your lifetime. Everyone needs friends. Friends help you in many ways.
Genuinely care about others. In order to establish and maintain friendships, you must be a caring person yourself in order to attract friends. Friends flee from people who care about nothing but themselves. Just be your natural jovial self. Be nice to everyone. Treat everyone equally, and eventually, you will meet some whom you can call your friends.
Look at others' inner qualities. It is probably easier to like someone who is good-looking than someone who is ugly. However, it really is the inner self of someone that is most important. So look for and befriend those whose inner qualities you admire. If you are unsure if a particular person is whom you would like to be friends with, just continue the relationship. It is always fine to have some acquaintances.
Let go if required. You should also understand that friends come and go. You may need to let go of some friends because you feel that they are not the type of person that you had envisioned them to be. You may feel a sense of loss, but friends who do not support you are not really friends. It may be hard to let go initially, but eventually, the pain will subside.
For example, be wary of friends who may be untrue to you. These may include insincerely praising you and praising you excessively. Of course, friends would praise each other, but doing so excessively is questionable. Not to say that all people who praise you excessively you should avoid, but just to be wary. Definitely also be careful of friends who ask you to be what you are not. For example, they keep saying you should wear this, and wear that. But really, clothing is really an external trait. Unless you are unkempt and dirty, there is no reason why you can't wear what is not currently the latest fashion.
Be yourself. Always be yourself no matter what. With a friend, you should be able to be yourself no matter what. You should not have to mask some character trait or do a particular thing just to please them. They should accept you as who you are without teasing or ridiculing you. You should be able to make whatever decisions you wish without them not letting you.
Always be there for your friends. Always be willing to listen to them. Be interested in their lives, their concerns, their general well-being. Do not yawn when they talk unless you really have been deprived of sleep during the last few nights. Give them all the time they need because relationships do take time.
Also do not be afraid to share your own thoughts with your friends. Tell them about your life, your recent experiences, your innermost thoughts. This is what friendship means - to share with others your thoughts, to accompany them in various explorations and activities in life, and to be caring and sympathetic to their needs and concerns. Of course, you should always try to treat everyone this way, but with friends, you take it one level deeper.
Maintaining deep friendship takes a lot of effort, and for that reason, you may not want to have too many very close friends. It takes time for you to get to know each other and maintain those ties. When you go in depth into another person, you learn much more about other people and their thoughts and feelings. It is as if you have gained entry into the life of another person. In that case, it would seem that you live more than one life - that of yourself and of your friend.
In summary, to establish and maintain lifelong friends:
A. Genuinely care about others.
B. Look at others' inner qualities.
C. Let go if required.
D. Be yourself.
E. Always be there for your friend.
Life Skills > Communication Skills > Friendship: Establishing and Maintaining Friends for Life