As a child, I remember how easy it was to make friends. From shared desks in homeroom to being picked to play together on the playground, we all had the same intention--to be friends.
Over the years, the easiness to make friends changed. Cliques, different interests and lack of contact, influenced my friendships in middle school and high school.
It wasn't until Grad School that I obtained the friendships that were most meaningful to me. The friendships made were with people that shared my interests and were authentic with their feelings and thoughts. We were compassionate and motivating to one another.
In doing research about the importance in friendships, I found many studies to show that having healthy and solid friendships improved mental wellness. Specifically, friends can be an important resource to help a person through a distressing period in their life, provide support and validation as well as an opportunity to give and receive unconditional love.
Some people say, when faced with challenges the people who show up when needed are your tribe. Between breakups, parents' illnesses, and personal health concerns, my closest friends have been my biggest support.
To say that all my friendships have lasted would be untrue. Friendships take work and unfortunately, not all friendships last. This is normal and part of life. According to popular studies, friendships don't last for the following reasons to include depression, moving away, health complications that limit independence and mobility, death of a friend, low self esteem, existing relationships that are unhealthy and relationship discord.
When friendships end, we often grieve the end of the relationship than ask what and why. What went wrong and why did this happen? This is a common process, but should also include an evaluation of the friendship. Were we good friends to each other? Was the friendship healthy? Learning how to be a good friend can help sustain a friendship and assist with making new friends.
Below is a list of ways to be a good friend...
Share interests and activities
Trust each other and be honest
Share thoughts and feelings
Respect each other’s opinions and beliefs
Try to relate to how the other person feels
Be sincere with each other
Accept each other for who they are
Encourage and support each other
Commit to the friendship
As you hone your 'good friend' skills, it's important to apply these skills with effort and action. Effort is most important when making friends. Friendships take work. If you desire your friend/s to be available to you when needed, your effort must be apparent with your 'good friend' skills. Without use of these skills, your friendship/s may not be as strong as desired. Make your friendships a priority if you want them to be present in your life.
As mentioned above, friendships take work. Making new friends also takes work. Unfortunately, making friends is harder these days as more connections are online as opposed to in person. However, it is still possible to make new friends. For starters, make a list of your interests and search meetup for local groups focused on your interest and participate in an event and/or regular meetings with your new group. If meetup is not for you, try one or all of the following making new friend/s suggestions below:
Join a club or an organization
Meet a neighbor
Join a support group online or in person
Participate in an exercise group
Socialize with a co-worker-make the effort to get to know them better
Comment below if you have tried one or all of our making friends examples. If you have any tips for making friends, please share them with us here.