We often think we can go through life alone without the need to share our fears and struggles with someone. Friendship contributes to our overall happiness and ability to maintain a positive outlook on life. Being surrounded by great friends is proven to boost our emotional well-being and self-esteem.
It’s in our nature to want to have meaningful interactions and develop social connections with others. We call on our friends during times of need and to carry us through hard times. Embracing our flaws and giving support as we navigate through life.
Friendships give an opportunity to learn more about yourself and the kind of people you wish to be associated with. It will teach you how much are you willing to care, be kind and go out of your way for another person. Knowing that someone will be there as you go through transitions in your life is extremely gratifying and provides you with confidence and a sense of security.
When we are faced with challenges it’s easy to become consumed in our thoughts and retreat into ourselves. But this only leads us to feel lonely and isolated. Remember to look outwards and reach out to someone when you need help.
A friend can often help us to feel validated and make sense of our feelings. It’s equally important to be that friend in return. Checking in with them from time to time and ask how they are doing. Be the kind of friend you want to have. As you never know when it might be your time to lean on someone.
As you progress through life it is almost certain you will encompass change in some form. Be it family, career, grief, etc. Such events will be a significant test of your friendship and its ability to evolve. We can become comfortable and change is often unwelcome and difficult to accept. But change is what allows us to grow and it’s incredible to be able to share our journey through life with someone.
It’s easy to be someone’s friend when life is going well but it requires a lot more patience and attention when tough times arise. When you make the decision to stand by someone as they go through change it enables the relationship to become stronger. Loyalty and trust are essential components for any successful long-lasting relationship.
When you choose to disclose your feelings and emotions and express yourself in the most authentic way it will permit the relationship to go beyond the surface level and into a deeper realm. But it must work both ways. To have the most genuine and honest relationship you both have to be vulnerable. When you are able to be truly at ease and at home in each other’s company you know you have found a true friend.
Cultivating a great friendship takes time. You don’t become best friends overnight. You have to remove the fear of being intimate and feeling exposed in order to let someone in properly and create a meaningful relationship. When you have this kind of relationship there is no room for small talk. Being open and honest with each other without passing judgment becomes the standard.
There will be times when you disagree on certain matters but it’s a case of respecting the other’s perspective. Not trying to change them or hold them accountable for exhibiting certain behaviours or beliefs. But seeing the value in your differences. Life would be pretty boring if everyone was the same! There could also come a time where you are wrong in your beliefs and your friend provides you with an opportunity to return back to more level ground.
You can find a friend in anyone. They don’t have to live in the same city as you or be at the same stage of life to provide meaning for your life. You don’t have to speak every day. The important thing is that when you come together it’s like no time has passed.
Further reading: Making friends in your 20s
There is nothing wrong with being selective about the type of people you choose to become friends with. In fact, it’s one of the most respectable things you can do for yourself. A great friendship will involve a level of mutual respect and admiration. A positive influence in your life and someone to celebrate your successes with.
It’s okay to walk away if a relationship isn’t providing you with the respect and support you wholeheartedly deserve. Life is too short to be weighed down by negativity or be associated with people that drain your energy. But it’s also never too late to reconnect with old friends or find new ones.
Great friendship is an incredible gift that everyone deserves to experience throughout their life. When you have great friends beside you it really does feel like you can handle anything that comes your way.