15 Ways To Maintain Your Relationship With Good Friends
“No man is an island” those were the words my grandma used to tell me before she passed on. Friends and family relationships are the most important things in anybody’s life. I grew up in a very social home. My parents were quite outspoken and open-minded. They taught and showed me the value of good friendship and family. I grew up with a heart that loved to draw people closer, I still do though.
It really doesn’t matter what your career is or how busy you are, your relationship with family and friends are as important. Better still, the attention you give to your friend or family shows how much you truly care about them. In the end, if there are no friends to celebrate your successes with you, it will be a lonely experience.
However, there are ways you can balance family, friends, love relationships and career in a way that will not affect you or eat you up. I will show you 15 tips you can put into practice to help you maintain a beneficial relationship with friends.
1. Create Time For Hangouts
Adulthood can be a very trying phase. The transition from being totally dependent on your parents, to paying your bills, rent a house and have a career can sometimes be overwhelming. In fact, it is very easy to lose sight of the more important things in life.
No matter how stressful or difficult your job is, if your friends can make out time to hang out with you, you too can make out time to hang out with them once in a while especially if you have the time. Birthdays, weddings, house dedication, childbirth celebrations happen once in a while and your presence can truly gladden your friend’s heart.
I have this little philosophy of mine – any job that doesn’t give me time to enjoy the company of others and maintain a healthy relationship is not worth keeping. That is not a job; it is slavery.
2. Stop Feeling Entitled
In as much as you love our kindness to be reciprocated, you need to understand that the world does not start and end with you. Too much entitlement mentality will cause you to lose valuable friends.
If they tell you they have no money to give you and you know they earn eight figures a year, it is not your money and you did not work for it. Simply say ok and move on.
Stop thinking that they have the money but will never give you because they don’t like you. Everyone has needs and you need to understand that. Find several options when you need help from people so that when one option does not work, you will not feel bitter but quickly move on to the next option. They might still be able to help you in the future. Besides, you need to be financially prudent.
3. Check Up On Close Friends
There are two types of calls that can brighten up my day no matter how stressful it is. A call from my lovely mother or a call from a close friend. I love those out of the blues’ check-up. It makes my day and strengthens my bond with whoever it is.
No matter how close you were in high school or college, familiarity will begin to fade when you no longer know a single thing happening in your friend’s life. It doesn’t have to be your friend’s birthday before you celebrate them or remind them of the fun times you had by sending them old pictures.
Tease them about a high school crush and share old jokes. Chats and social media connections have made it easier to keep in touch.
4. Be reliable
There is a common misconception that when you are experiencing pain or discomfort, you should keep quiet and fight it by yourself to show strength. Apparently, this is a very wrong concept, in fact, it is the reason why we have a lot of depressed people walking on the streets these days.
However, you can let friends know that they don’t have to bottle up everything. A reliable friend isn’t judgmental and will not hesitate to tell you the truth with love.
I want you to be that friend today. Be a shoulder to cry on even when you don’t have the perfect words to say or anything more to offer. Showing concern in turbulent times will really go a long way. Remember you will also need someone someday.
5. Learn To Keep Secrets
When someone confides in you and you let out the person’s secrets, you have not only let the person down, but you have also let your integrity down. Do not be a blabbermouth, learn to keep secrets. You cannot maintain a relationship by blabbing private information around the neighbourhood.
Imagine the level of confidence a friend must have had in you to tell you a secret. You can also imagine the level of disappointment the person would feel if he/she finds out that the information made for your ears also ended up in another’s.
6. Be Open To Criticism
You should always strive to be a better version of yourself and that includes accepting that you are not perfect, nobody is. If you only keep a friendship where your friends are scared to tell you the truth because of your reactions, then you will not learn.
When you don’t learn, you will keep having bad habits or a toxic way of life. Give and receive constructive criticism, unlearn and relearn, be open-minded and try to work on yourself from filtered pieces of advice.
7. Get To Know Them Personally
Strong relationships are built on the foundation of familiarity. Get to know what is happening in your friends’ lives, however, go by what they want you to know, do not force it. As time goes on and the closer you get to each other, more truths will be shared by both of you.
Remember it is a two-sided thing. If your friend is not interested in what you share, then just accept them the way they are until they come to realize you’re a genuine friend. Most long-lasting relationships start by being comfortable to share anything with each other.
This way, you can impart knowledge, share experiences and be comforted by each other in dire moments.
8. Respect Boundaries
Boundaries are very important as they will help you to take caution and not step on other people’s toes. If you do not accept boundaries in your relationships, unintended insults and broken friendships are bound to happen. I heard a story about a guy whose friend was his roommate.
They became so close that it was normal for him to lend this friend his clothes occasionally. However, one day he wasn’t around, and his roommate took a trouser of his without his permission and tailored it to his size. You can imagine how furious the dress owner was when he returned. This could bring a stop to every other favour he enjoyed from the relationship.
I believe if his roommate knew when to draw the line and ask for permission, that incident wouldn’t have occurred. You should be smart enough to figure out when you are beginning to take friendships for granted. It is good that you examine yourself, politely as for permission and know when to give some space.
9. Give Them Their Space
I don’t think I will get that excitement that I feel whenever my friends hit me up if they hit me up all the time. In as much as you have to maintain friendships by keeping tabs, you should also understand that people have busy lives and their own schedules.
Know when to give your friends space especially during busy hours. You could text them ahead to know what time is ok for you to call or check on them. Don’t just barge into your friend’s schedule uninvited.
Being able to predict your friend’s needs and any point in time is what makes you a great friend. Great friendships are friendships that still feel the same even after months of cricket silence.
10. Forgive and Never Bring It Up Again
Forgiving after a misunderstanding or major disagreement is wonderful! However, it sweeter when you decide not to bring it up again. I decided to use the word “never bring it up again” because sometimes it might take a while for people to change.
So, while they change, give them the benefit of the doubt, and do not assume it is a deliberate repetition. If it is something that keeps hurting you, you could give have a space for the sake of your mental health.
This literally means that you should not embarrass your friends for mistakes they made and apologized for. Resist the temptation to remember even when you are angry. Just take a break if you can no longer cope.
11. Support Your Friends
If your friend is an upcoming musician and he gives you a free ticket to their show, make time and go for that show and let him know you came even if it’s for a few minutes. If he needs your vote or experience to bring his dreams to pass, give him the support.
It shows that you are supportive and, trust me, he or she will really appreciate it. Such people are likely to reciprocate this support when you need it.
However, if you cannot make it and you have a pretty good excuse, just call ahead, and apologize for your unavailability.
12. Mind What You Say When Angry
It is true that we do not mean 50% of what we say during arguments. Yes, I understand that you might be angry and tempted to say hurtful words but read this story carefully.
A man once told his hot-tempered son that for every day he says something hurtful during arguments, he would have to hit a nail into a concrete wall. The boy hit so many nails that he finally started controlling his temper.
After noticing the change, the man now told his son that for every day he goes without saying something hurtful, he would have to pull out those nails from the wall. The boy noticed that a once smooth wall now had all these holes in them from his lack of self-control.
This is basically what happens when you say hurtful things to people, you might apologize, but things might never go back to the way they were. For that reason, you should learn to control your temper. Instead of saying hurtful things, leave that environment fast or read something you believe so much in. Some quotes that help to curb anger might help.
13. Respect your friends
Do not build walls; instead, build bridges. These are words that have carried me to where I am today. I realized that things that you thought were big deals 10 years ago might not really matter to you now. It has helped me to make significant and careful decisions when maintaining relationships.
Don’t be a parasite to your friends. Do not keep friendships to exploit others unnecessarily. I am a huge fan of drawing people closer rather than pushing them away, however, If I notice you’re all about making me feel less, lying, enforcing your opinions or trying to boss me here and there, I will deliberately give myself some respect by avoiding you.
If you respect yourself enough, other people will be forced to accord you the same respect. I always say the truth even to my friends. Sometimes, this truth might be bitter, but it is not enforced. Once demanded, I always speak the truth and stand on my words. However, I respect myself enough to not give unsolicited advice and opinions.
14. Be A Positive Influence
Be a positive influence in the lives of your friends. That’s what friends are for. Seek to push them further, tell them the truth when they seek your opinion, encourage them and be there when they need you.
Nobody forgets a good friend that is supportive. No matter how brief you have been friends, or how long you haven’t spoken, once they remember the positive impact you’ve had on them, they will not forget you in a hurry.
15. Develop Yourself
Develop yourself alongside your peers. Strive to develop and invest in yourself so that you won’t be a burden. You shouldn’t be so dependent on people to the extent that you will lose your value.
Good friendships last when two people grow together. Yes, a friendship can work when one is bigger/more privileged/more experienced than the other, however, if the relationship is built on constant dependency, it might be difficult to maintain it.
If your peers are heading off to college, try to join them. Grow with your peers so that you can have relevant conversations. You don’t want to be a gas station attendant in your small town, while your best friend is a lawyer in a reputable firm in the city. He is more likely to stay out of touch because your exposures are beginning to differ a lot.
The bond is stronger if you can both relate on a familiar topic.
I know I said you should try to grow with your peers, I also understand that life isn’t so easy and everybody is fighting their own problems. Therefore, I want to encourage you that time, hard work and commitment always have a reward. If you cannot meet up with your friend’s lifestyle, don’t lie or try to over-do yourself. Good friends will try to bring you up without making you feel insecure about yourself or killing your self-esteem.
Maintaining a good friendship is very important in every life. It is people that raise other people up. It was my father’s best friend that connected him to the job that trained I and my siblings. Hold on to people that contribute positively to your life; this type of loyal people are scarce these days.
Good people, most especially good friends, make the world go round.