In the world that we live in there is one thing that all of us are in need of. That one thing is a few close friends in whom we can confide in, trust, and share some of the most personal details and needs of our lives. It is interesting to note how many people are out there that struggle in creating quality, long lasting friendships and how difficult their lives can be because of that challenge. So what is it that allows some people to have many long lasting friendships while many of us struggle to even have one close friend? There are actually many reasons why some people are able to easily make friends and most of it has to do with the way they treat themselves and others. Some people, however, treat everyone with kindness and still have a difficult time creating the type of friendships they are seeking. The following is a list of a few qualities that will help you to develop the kind of friendship that will last longer than a few weeks or months.
1. Know who you really are and who would be a good friend.
Not everybody is meant to be your “best friend”. In order to meet someone and create a lasting friendship you must first understand what kind of a person you are and who would want to be your friend in return. If you are the kind of person who loves to be the center of attention and always telling the stories then you probably won’t be capable of forming a lasting friendship with somebody else who likes being the topic of most conversations. On a similar note, if you are a little bit more quiet and reserved it could prove to be difficult to create a friendship with another person who is equally as shy.
Your interests and hobbies are also important to consider when determining who would make a good friend. It is most likely that you will develop friendships with people who share your interests. For example, if you are into sports and exercising it may be easier for you to make a friend through finding an exercise buddy or basketball teammate. People who tend to be into crafts are always looking for others to bounce ideas off of and do projects with. Personal interest sharing is often the main reason that two friends begin to spend time with one another.
2. Be yourself and always be sincere and genuine.
There is no point in creating a friendship that is not based on true principles. There is no need to pick up a specific hobby or activity that you don’t enjoy doing just to have a new friend in your circle. There are plenty of people out there who share one or more of the interests you have so don’t feel like there is no person who would like to spend time with you. Lasting friendships are built on more than just superficial activities and time spent with one another. True friends will accept each other for who they are and not just on what they do together.
3. Be dependable and trustworthy.
A major cause for most friendships ending or not advancing beyond the initial stage is that one party leaves the other one hanging at a critical moment. Whether it be a career change, family moving, being locked out of the apartment, or just needing someone to talk to, a friend can always be counted on to bail someone out. In every friendship there will come a time in which one of you needs the other to step up. If your friend calls on you and you can tell that he or she is struggling with something, always be willing to make the small sacrifices in order to help that friend. These small sacrifices help to build trust and care for one another and make it much more possible that when you are in need of something, your friend will also be there.
4. You must be willing to reach out to others whom you may not consider to be a future friend.
Every time you walk down the street or in the mall or at church you are passing hundreds of potential friends. The reason that most of us don’t consider reaching out to prospective friends is that we are worried they don’t share the same interests and won’t enjoy spending time with us. It is true that most of these people may not want to share their personal lives with you but it is highly likely that one or two of them are also in need of a good friend. Sometimes people with opposite personalities and interests make the best friends and are able to commit to lasting relationships. These types of personalities tend to complement one another and they don’t steal each other’s thunder because they have different interests and concerns.
5. Be positive and uplifting with everyone you meet.
Don’t buy into the belief that sarcasm will help you to make friends because you will come across as being funny. People like to hear good things about themselves and always enjoy a complement. This can become especially more difficult when you have been close friends with someone for a long time because we tend to think that everything is concrete and that the friendship cannot be lost. This can be a huge mistake however, because all of us have the need to feel that people notice our accomplishments.
6. Tell your friends that you appreciate and respect them.
We all want to feel needed and appreciated. Friendships that are long lasting tend to stand the tests of time because both people have a feeling that the other person needs them and loves them. Your friends are much more likely to notice your accomplishments if you are able to notice theirs.
7. Never be willing to compromise your values in order to make friends.
Your values and ideals are much more important than a friendship that lasts a few weeks. I say “a few weeks” because if you are willing to change who you are just to impress somebody it is likely that the relationship won’t last very long. People have a need to be close to others who are able to be themselves and not change, we like consistency. Your values have made you the type of person that you are today and the type of person you will be in the future. If you are willing to stand by your ideals it is much more likely that you will be able to be yourself around others rather than worrying whether or not the other person is impressed by you. By staying true to yourself your self-respect and self-worth will remain strong and you will have the confidence you need in order to create a lasting friendship.
8. Develop a genuine concern for your friend’s well-being.
As you develop a friendship with someone else, you will want to make sure that they are concerned about you and your happiness. You will easily recognize whether or not the person truly cares how you are or if they are just trying to create meaningless conversation. In order to get your friend to have these feelings about you and truly care for your well-being you need to show your friend that you have that same concern for him or her. People are able to detect how sincere you are when you are asking about their life and their problems. If you cannot develop a genuine concern for your friend’s well-being it can be difficult to have your relationship develop beyond the initial stage and into a long lasting friendship.
9. Keep in contact regularly.
It is not likely that your best friend who lives around the corner is always going to live around the corner. Friends move away because of family, jobs, school, and other reasons but that does not mean the friendship has to end. The modern world provides us with many means to stay in contact with old friends. The internet now offers social media such as Facebook and Twitter as well as video chat rooms and other programs such as Skype. Cell phones have made it possible to contact each other at very affordable rates and at all times of the day. There are many ways in which friends can keep in contact even if they don’t live close to one another. These types of friendships can be just as meaningful and long lasting as any.
Sometimes it is important to force contact with a friend who doesn’t live far away because life becomes busy and overwhelming. You may not have spoken to a good friend in a month or so and it could become important to make contact, even just to say hello. Many friendships have slowly slipped away because both friends have become so wrapped up in their day-to-day activities.
10. Don’t overcrowd or smother your friends.
We all need our space from time to time and sometimes a good friend might be smothering someone and not allowing them their “alone time”. It is important to discuss this with friends because it is not an easy thing to detect. If you are feeling like you need a weekend alone to just relax and not hang out, feel free to let your friend know why you can’t do anything. Understand that your friend will also have this need in a few weeks, also. Time spent away from one another can help you to appreciate your friendship and the time you spend with one another. Friendships that are too time consuming can cause family and other problems that are not healthy for the friendship or those involved.
11. Be willing to admit wrongdoings and offer apologies.
We all make mistakes and it is important to recognize that neither you nor your friend is perfect. Your friend may do something that you don’t approve of and may upset you. These are the times when friendships are truly challenged and tried. If your friend has made a mistake, he or she probably is in need of a good friend to get him or her out of trouble and back on the right track. This is when you need to be the genuine and reliable friend that you would want if you were in their situation. If you happen to have hurt a friend you need to be willing to offer an apology and ask for forgiveness. These times can cause tension in a friendship and if you just assume the tension will just disappear you will find that the friendship is the only thing that goes away. Always admit to any mistakes and be willing to forgive your friend if they are the one who has messed up.
12. Understand that some friendships will not last forever.
Some friendships only exist because they are convenient or to fulfill some purpose at a specific time in your life. Understand that not all of your friendships will last forever. When you have created a long-lasting friendship you will be able to recognize it. When you recognize that you have made one of these friends you should be willing to do the things necessary in order for that friendship to last, even during difficult times.
Building a lasting friendship is not easy and it should not be forced. If you are yourself and are willing to open yourself up to others and serve them, you will find that there are many people who are looking for a good friend.