Maintaining Close Friendships
5 tools that help keep great friendships going
Are you the type of person who has trouble maintaining friends? Have you lost friends over the years, often for no explicable reason? Well, there are some simple tools you can use in the future to prevent that.
When is it worth maintaining?
First and foremost, you should be honest with yourself about which friendships deserve maintaining, and to what degree. Maybe one friend is a lifelong close friend, but another is an every-once-in-a-while kind of acquaintance. That's okay! It’s up to you to know the difference, but here are some good indicators to consider for that inner circle:
- They make you feel like you matter
- When you’re with them, you feel “understood”
- You share many common interests
- They are there for you when you need them
- You would trust them with your biggest secret
Know of someone who fits some or all of those? That’s probably someone you want to put in the effort to maintain a close relationship!
Despite most of us finding this kind of close friendship in life, we often can lose it for any number of reasons. Maybe there was some sort of conflict you both couldn’t resolve. They might have moved away, or maybe life just got too busy. Or maybe they just drifted away.
So how do we keep that from happening? Again, that’s gonna be up to you and your good friend. But here are some things you can do.
- First and foremost, recognize that you have to maintain it! This seems obvious, but most people don’t think about friendships the same way they do with other relationships. Friendships require work too!
- Keep on keeping on. 80% of maintaining is one thing – staying in touch. And not just over text, but actually talking and seeing them. Get in the habit of talking to them more frequently – at least weekly (“habit” being the keyword). Stop telling yourself you’re too busy. What you’re really saying is, “I don’t value this enough.” When you do see them, come up with fun things to do. Sitting around is fine, but try to go create some cherished memories instead.
- Stay open. Let yourself be vulnerable with your friends. Share your secrets. Speak your mind (but from a place of appreciating them). Be more open minded with them and your judgment of them. This openness will deepen the connection and strengthen the friendship.
- Help them. What goals are they working on? How could you help? How could you be supportive?
- Resolve conflicts. Just like in romantic relationships, friends fight. Learning how to manage that conflict between the two of you is key. Learn to take their perspective. Empathize. Forgive them. Like, really forgive them. When it calls for it, apologize. Get it all aired out, make amends, and move on.
Last, but not least, enjoy the friendship! This is the best thing you can do! Be present when you’re with them. Don’t forget to let your friendship inspire you, help you through hard times, positively impact you, and bring you joy. Pretty soon, you’ll be excited to nourish and maintain your close friendships, and even go make some more!
Now stop reading this and go call your friend!
With intention and openness,
Your friends at Bodhi Band