Whether those friendships are couple’s friendships or individual friendships, high-quality friendships are good for your health. Having good friends means that you have someone to talk to, someone who helps you enjoy the happy times and survive the tough times. This support decreases your stress and increases your sense of well-being. What keeps us from having close friendships? The following are some possible obstacles to developing close friendships:
- Laziness or Busyness – It could be either that we keep ourselves so busy that there is no time for building friendships or that we cannot be bothered to put in the effort required to make and keep friends.
- Past hurts – perhaps you have been hurt in the past. You may have had a friend or friends who stabbed you in the back and you may feel reluctant to put yourself in a vulnerable position again.
- Fears – there are several fears that could get in the way. The fear that you are not good enough or that people would not want to be your friend; the fear of rejection; or the fear being vulnerable or of letting someone get close to you. Popular wisdom suggests that to make a friend you must be a friend. Great friendships include acceptance, honesty, shared enjoyment, and mutual respect.
As you set out to make friends or strengthen your friendships, here are some points to consider:
- Friendships take time to grow and develop.
- Be trustworthy. Never break a confidence.
- Healthy boundaries are important. Too much sharing or dependency can end up suffocating the relationship.
- Lighten up and enjoy your sense of humor.
- You have two ears and one mouth: use them accordingly.
- Do not ignore problems. Talk them through and fix them. Apologize when you are wrong.
- Be willing to forgive. If you are real with each other, hurt feelings are always a possibility. Do not take things too personally and be willing to cut each other some slack.
- Make the effort to stay in touch with old friends.