Whether or not you believe in the tweet above, we can all agree that as hard as it is making friends, it’s a lot harder to maintain them. Just like your relationship with your significant other, high school friendships especially require a lot of work to maintain them and an equal amount of effort to make sure they last beyond a simple graduation date. That’s why we’re giving you an insider’s scoop on how to best maintain your friendships rewarding.
A quick way for a friendship to sink fast is by taking that friend for granted. One can easily prevent this by showing gratification from time to time; folks, it’s as easy as saying, “Thanks dude. I appreciate it.” But with that said, politeness only shows so much appreciation. If you feel truly in debt to a friend, keep that friendship rewarding and be spontaneous! Go out of your way and surprise them with a gift.
While friendships shouldn’t cost a dime, investing in those cookies for your friends has a greater return of investment than if you invested that money in real estate (If you fact check me here, then you’re not my friend).
If you have one of these friends who tends to shower you in gifts, then be courteous and return the favor. The law of reciprocity is very much in play here as it is in every other type of relationship.
(Photo Credit: Dunkin Donuts)
This is an important tier in building a genuine friendship and requires a tremendous amount of work. If you have decided that a certain individual is worthy of being one of your closest friends, then there’s no better way to getting closer to them then listening.
When that person talks to you about something that’s going on in his or her life, you should really pour your soul into listening and understanding them. This is also happens to be the stage where you need the most patience. Strive to constantly communicate, but more importantly attempt to understand the other’s perception.
Good relationships are built on similar understanding, and although you can show interest in other ways– such as joining a club they’re in– being able to know what a person wants, before they even need it, is a skill that keeps on giving.
Moreover, make time for your friendships during the school year. As fun as it is talking in class, make time your friends outside of the class room and never say that you’re too busy to hang out with them.
Once you communicate openly and get to know the other person deeper, it’s time to discuss trust building. Trust builds over time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take initiative. Often more not, trust requires you to show vulnerability to the other person. If you believe in your friend, to keep that friendship rewarding you must take constant risks and put yourself on the line.
The fastest way for someone to trust you, is for you to trust them first. Confide secrets, show them an unknown side of you, create your own inside jokes. A friend’s integrity shines when you both overcome your trust issues and become more comfortable with each other. Trust becomes the blood by which your friends become your family.
Whenever trust comes into question, remember to be compassionate and forgiving. After all, the ability to forgive others and the ability to forgive yourself go hand in hand.
A healthy friendship demands that vulnerability is shown. Many people, however, view vulnerability as a weakness, but for a friendship to thrive, friends must be able to depend on one another and feel that they are needed and appreciated for the support they give. Nevertheless, showing vulnerability is incredibly daunting to any individual but opening up to a friend is actually easy once started.
At first, you must stay honest with yourself and share your fears with your friend. You should not expect nor be afraid of reciprocity here, especially since distancing yourself at a time of a friend’s vulnerability shows that you’re not willing to be a true friend.
If they can’t return the favor, ask yourself why and pursue an answer within them. Beware of miscommunication, but regardless of the outcome, don’t be afraid to show vulnerability among true friends.
Show maturity in times of conflict and most importantly… show respect
All friendships undergo stress. When fights emerge, remember that it’s time of crises that define the strength of your relationship. Whenever there’s a miscommunication, remind yourself that a true friend makes the effort to understand the other friend. As we get to know a person more and more, we can’t simply choose to see only the bad aspects of them, when we already know that the good in them is much more rewarding. In these cases, all of us must be willing to be optimistic and take action– show compassion, not cynicism.
By being compassionate and trying to understand a person’s demon, we can take pleasure in knowing that we’re helping a friend and that by respecting the individual as a whole, we are forging a bond that simply will not break after high school.