At some point in our lives, we’ve all had a “BFF”. Someone we could really call a best friend and someone with whom we thought we would be friends forever. Some people are lucky to have actual BFFs, or friendships that are so strong that they last a lifetime. But more often than not, friendships are fleeting rather than forever. Sometimes, strong friendships just aren’t strong enough and can fall apart as friends drift away for whatever reason.
But believe it or not, there are many ways to salvage a friendship or to make it stronger so that it really can last a long time. Here are all the ways that you can help build stronger friendships with people you love and care about.
1. Be true to yourself
Authenticity and sincerity are keys to building stronger and longer-lasting friendships. Hiding your true self and putting up a façade is not only lying to the person you are “friends” with; it also is hurting yourself by denying integral parts of your true nature such as your beliefs, values, ideals, and interests. Friendships that are strong, true, and built to last a lifetime are ones where the friends are open and accepting of who the other person is. Pretending to be someone you’re not because you’re trying to impress the other person or are afraid of judgment is not going to make for a great friendship.
Communication is key for any relationship. Misunderstandings are bound to arise, but not being open and expressing how you feel will only turn misunderstandings into major disagreements that will ultimately damage the friendship.
3. Be honest
A culmination of the two previous points, if you want to build stronger friendships, you have to be honest with both yourself and the other person. Dishonesty and untrustworthiness are two of the easiest ways to ruin a friendship and should be avoided at all costs.
4. Be loyal
Loyalty is crucial for strong and long-lasting friendships. This does not mean exclusively dedicating yourself to your friend. You can have multiple friends, even multiple best friends, at one time. But it means never going around behind your friend’s back doing or saying things about them that you know are bad or wrong. It means never breaking promises or betraying their secrets to other people. Basically, don’t be a Brutus.
5. Be understanding
Be empathetic and compassionate towards your friends. Understand that they are human beings who have their own feelings and personal stuff going on in their lives and therefore cannot always stay upbeat and positive– or make time to hang out with you. Show your support, be their cheerleader, listen to them about issues going on in their lives.
6. Accept your friends for who they are
One of the main influences on friendships is that two or more people have something in common with each other– such as values, beliefs, interests and other key personality traits. But your friends are not going to be exact carbon copies of you. They are going to have their slight differences, but don’t let these minor differences lead to disagreements, hurt feelings and ultimately damaged friendships. Accept your friends for who they are. Don’t ever force them to be someone they’re not or try to change them to who you think they should be.
7. Have fun!
One of the great things about friendships is getting to have fun with another person. Strong and long-lasting friendships are friendships that are fun and positive, where people have a good time with each other doing
something that they love or even trying something new together. Strong friendships are built on happy memories of fun and enjoyable experiences together.
8. Make time for your friends
When possible, always try to make time for your friends. Friendships can too easily disintegrate because one or both parties could not make the time to see or talk to each other. Making time for your friends can be anything from trying to schedule time to see and do something together or taking time out of your day to reach out when they are going through a rough time.
9. Support them
If you want to build strong friendships then you should always support your friends. Whether it’s for something positive like a new job promotion or something tragic like a death in the family, always be there for them and express your support. This is one of the best and most sincere ways to show your friends that you will always be there for them through thick and through thin.
10. Seek balance
Balance is important for any relationship. You cannot be with your friends 24/7. You also cannot never be with them at all. Strong friendships are friendships that are neither obsessive nor absent. In order for friendships to truly last forever, some harmony needs to be struck.
11. Take responsibility for the friendship
Friendships, like all relationships, are the responsibility of both parties to keep together. Be involved and engage in the friendship. Admit when you are wrong and apologize for any mistakes or wrongdoings.
12. Celebrate what you share…
Celebrate what you have in common with your friends. After all, that’s part of why you are such good friends! Similarities like common beliefs, values and interests provide strong foundations for strong friendships. So for friendships to remain strong, they should be acknowledged and celebrated.
13. …But also challenge them
But again, you and your friends are not carbon copies. There will be differences. So good, strong friendships are also friendships where people not only celebrate what they have in common, but also challenge them to try new things or to grow and develop as people.
14. Be respectful
Always be respectful of your friends, whether it’s for any personal beliefs or issues that are going on in their lives, or what they are comfortable or uncomfortable with. Your friends are more than just your friends; they are human beings too and they need to be respected in all of their relationships.
15. Know when it’s time to let go
You and your friends can do everything possible to make a friendship last a long time, but sometimes friendships are just not meant to last as long as people would like them to. Know when it’s time to let go of a friendship. Trying to force a friendship to last forever when it’s beginning to show signs that it’s not meant to is a surefire way to make that friendship fall apart even more. And it’s certainly not good for you or your friend.