Human beings require many kinds of stimuli including food, water, vitamins, minerals, sunlight, shelter, warmth and even money in society to buy what we need and stay safe.
What is also important is our relationships with each other because human interactions are actually a ‘food’ and add to our well-being.
Are you someone who has trouble making friends?
Do you have friends only for a short period and then lose them?
As you age, have you lost contact with friends you had when you were younger?
Have you had experiences where people simply do not want to be friends with you?
Do you feel like an outcast and often get defriended on Facebook because people find you too difficult?
How deeply can you connect with friends and could you even love your friends?
We now often live in a very transient society whereas many years ago we might have lived our whole lives in one town or one area and had people we knew for our entire lives. You might live in 20 to 30 homes during your lifetime and need to move areas to get the job you want to make the money you need to feed yourself and your family. This often means when you build a set of friends they get left behind when you move and you feel like you have to start again which can lead to loneliness.
Of course, great tools like social media can allow you to stay in contact and reconnect with many people you knew years ago and even find friends you have not seen for decades. I know I found friends I had 50 years ago and it was lovely to reconnect and resume our friendship, even if at times it was a virtual relationship. You can of course also make friends with people you have never met in person.
The thing about friends though is that some people change throughout their lives and some people really stay pretty much as you knew them years ago. Of course, it is a shock when you see people many years later and they look different, but at times you can pick up where you left off the last time you spoke. You often hear people say, “Oh it was like we spoke yesterday even though we haven’t seen each other for years.”
Good friends accept you regardless of the changes that have happened in your life. They congratulate you on and celebrate your successes, forgive your mistakes and support you when you are in distress. So maybe if you want more friends over a longer period of time, you can become that person with whom people want to become and stay friends.
A few tips for good friendship:
- When you are in a room with people, work the room and spend time with people. Look for commonalties between you, such as things or ideas that you might share.
- Set out to have a wide variety of friends from different walks of life and appreciate the variety that can add to the richness of your life and the life of the friendship.
- Think about what you can bring to the friendship, not just about what you can gain from the other person. Be a positive contributor to your friendships.
- Don’t jump on people’s heads and get angry with friends when they make mistakes. You are not there to judge them but to support and help them in their time of need. If you have a dispute, talk about it calmly and constructively.
- Have fun with people because fun is what binds the friendships together over a long period. Don’t restrict all your friendships to online only: Aim to get out and meet with people and hang out in real life.
- Tell people you love them when you know them well, as it is not clingy but just nice. Of course, don’t be overbearing or make people uncomfortable by overstepping boundaries, but be genuinely affectionate (consensually of course). It means you have special consideration for the person and that you really enjoy being their friend.