Friendship is a beautiful thing. An Australian study recently revealed that maintaining that relationship is essential to your mental and physical health. It proves that social relations in an older adult’s life are key to a long life, and the probability is even closer when you have good friends from your immediate family.
You cannot choose your family – you were born and found yourself with the parents you had and your siblings – but you can choose who your friends are. And that makes maintenance of that relationship worthwhile, and it makes sense to take care of it. However, friendships can also end for one reason or another, and they can also end unpleasantly, especially in moments of weakness.
When your friend is not in a good state, such as drug abuse at Michigan drug rehabs, you are more likely to be reactive or experience varying levels of competitiveness, frustration, or hurt feelings. This may be due to the close interaction with someone breeding a sense of responsibility and investment into their behavior and emotion. However, the key to maintaining a friendship is changing your behavior instead of poking at the other person. Here are some ways you can do that.
This goes for every relationship, regardless of who you are dealing with. Every relationship and friendship with a false facade as its foundation is set to fizzle with time, so you need to maintain high honesty levels if it will survive.
For instance, reminding yourself to place your ego aside and do what is best for your friend will encourage them to open up to you and ask you all the right questions. Also, striving to give and get feedback from the other person on various issues is key to maintaining a conversation.
True friends will likely keep asking each other all the hard questions, and they will tell each other straight up, even when they see each other making mistakes. And this is the secret of long-lasting friendships; people are not afraid, honest with each other, and help each other grow.
When you get to know someone, you want to know all about them – including their weaknesses and strengths. That also means that you know exactly what will build them up and tear them down.
No one is perfect, and you will make mistakes and speak harmful things when you are in a moment of weakness or tension – it is only human. However, when you make a mistake or hurt your friend, you do not let it simmer and pretend nothing has happened. You will set your pride aside and do what it takes to repair the misunderstanding.
Honesty, again, does not mean cruelty in your statements, so you will always try your best to find a balance between honesty without sounding judgemental or rude to your friend. That will help both of you maintain high levels of trust.
Showing some appreciation for each other
Increasing comfort levels can trick you into thinking you do not need to show your thanks to the other person, in addition to familiarity. The same happens with your significant other, children, or family members.
When you get into a routine, it is easy to forget what makes your relationship so great, and you start taking each other for granted. That is why you need to frequently make time for seeing and interacting with your friends, so the relationship grows. Never forget to remind your friends that you appreciate them and love them.
As long as you are good friends, you will always be interested in the well-being of each other, but be careful not to let it become too one-sided or lose focus.
Part of this involves doing acts of kindness and doing what your friends (not you) love and see as caring. It does not need to be extravagant; it can be something simple as long as they feel comfortable.
Set your expectations realistically
Expectations are both a good and bad thing. On the one hand, they protect us from people who may take advantage of us, but on the other hand, they can set a relationship for failure if they are too high.
Humans often make mistakes, and your closest friends can let you down at one point or another. The damage they can cause lies in forgetting that you are dealing with human beings. The damage is even more once you use these mistakes to pick at your friends, which may lead to a deteriorating friendship.
Another danger may be assuming your friend will show you affection the same way you do or expect and then being angry or disappointed when they do not meet your expectations.
Maintaining a relationship requires you to stay open-minded – accepting that your view may be wrong and that other individuals have different ways of expressing their affection that may not align with yours.
Avoid being cynical about your relationships with others.
Doing the right thing is always more important than being right. Every person, including you, has bad traits, and when you focus on them, it is easy to become negative towards interacting with that person.
Compassion is a better approach because it helps you see your friend’s positive traits and forgive their unpleasant sides. It helps you remain vulnerable instead of being guarded with them, which means you open up more about yourself and want to see the same extent. It helps you feel good about yourself and other people, regardless of your friend’s behavior.
Friendships are not easy to maintain, even after long periods. They require both individuals’ work and acceptance that you have flaws to make room for compassion, forgiveness, and growth. That will make both of you better people willing to grow with each other, and it will make you less of a loner in the end.