Friendships can determine your physical health, financial success, and even how long you live.
Friendships can enrich your life in many ways. Good friends teach you about yourself and challenge you to be better. They encourage you to keep going when times get tough and celebrate your successes with you. But friends do a lot more than give you a shoulder to cry on; they also have a positive impact on your health. Some research even says friendships are just as important to your well-being as eating right and exercising. Do you want to deepen the bond you share with your friends? Are you looking for ways to make sure your friendships last for years to come? The key to strengthening any friendship is to invest in it.
Here are our tips on how to strengthening any friendship and camaraderie.
Create and capitalize on time together
Of course it’s nice to have those friendships that don’t require a lot of time or upkeep—especially when the two of you are miles and miles apart or on complete opposite schedules. That being said, strong relationships do require staying in touch and spending meaningful time together. So, at the very least, check-in with your friend when you can: agree on weekly phone dates; text them here and there to let them know you’re thinking of them; and if possible, schedule some time to simply hang out!
Be honest with each other
Another key to strengthening your friendships is being open and honest with your friends. Expressing the way you feel and listening to the other when they do so is key to a healthy relationship. You need to be able to express how you feel—even those negative feelings like disappointment and discomfort—so as to keep that bond from weakening. If you instead keep those feelings bottled up, you’re likely to foster some ill will towards your friends, and your relationships will suffer. It may make you feel anxious or uncomfortable, but it’s best to confront your emotions openly instead of brushing how you feel under the rug. Then, you can work out the issue together.
Listen and give advice
When it comes to strengthening any friendship, one of the most important things you can do is to take the time to really listen to what your friend is saying. Make time to talk and listen to your friend, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure about something. Doing this will not only show your friend that you care about them, but it will also help you to better understand their thoughts and feelings.
Show them that you care
If you hope to create strong, lasting friendships, you should continue to show your friend that you care about them. This doesn’t require you to take drastic measures, but simply find ways to express your love and appreciation for the other person: treat them to pizza on their birthday, tag them in cheesy memes, and bluntly tell them that your friendship means the world to you. You might assume that they already know you care for them, but even if they do, it’s always nice to be reminded.
Embark on new experiences together
It may seem like a given, but friendships are supposed to be fun! It’s important to create times and experiences where the two of you can bond and have real fun together regularly. Relationships are strengthened by meaningful experiences and unforgettable memories. So make the effort to spice up your friendships by embarking on new adventures side-by-side: sign up for an intimidating exercise or cooking class together, plan a trip to a new town or even new country, or simply switch up your typical weekend outings. This variation will revive your friendships and create an even stronger bond.
Provide support and encouragement
Friendships aren’t all fun and games—they do require you to put in some work, such as when your friend is having a horrible, no-good day. Say they’ve just broken up with their boyfriend or girlfriend or were fired from their job. It’s your job to be there for them and provide them with whatever they need, starting with support and comfort. Additionally, it’s your duty to give them encouragement as needed. Encourage friends to do what you know will make them happy, like taking that job or moving to a new city. Whatever the case, make it apparent that you’re rooting for them.
Treasure the little things
Real, strong friendships aren’t extravagant—they’re built simply on connectedness, kindness, and love for each other. That being said, it’s important you remember to embrace and rejoice in the little things. Appreciate those phone dates we talked about earlier. Enjoy every second you get to spend with them, even if you’re simply meeting for coffee. Treasure every little piece of your friendship—the extraordinary love, the undying support, and the irreplaceable memories.
Strengthening any friendship requires that we respect and appreciate the differences between ourselves and our friends. It is important to remember that no two people are the same, and that each of us has different values, beliefs, and interests. Acknowledge and appreciate these differences, and strive to understand them.