'I think the best friendships are those that can stand the test of time, where the friendship is based more on who you are than on what you do or what you have.' ~ Steve Pavlina
It's an awesome feeling when you find another person that you have a great connection with...
Someone who really gets you, who you can laugh with (and maybe even cry), who knows your deepest, darkest secrets and who is there for you no matter what!
Do you have any friends like that?
Perhaps more importantly, are you that type of friend?
Developing a friendship over the course of a few hours, weeks, months, years, or even decades can be a fun, exciting and enriching journey.
After all, it's the relationships we have with others (and with ourselves) that makes life truly fulfilling.
But building long-lasting friendships that stand the test of time isn't always easy. They need to be nurtured and cared for...
So here are my Dos and Don'ts for fostering long-lasting and healthy relationships with the friends in your life:
- DO listen to what they have to say
People don't always need advice, sometimes they just need to be heard. Being a good listener can be the best gift you give a friend.
- DON'T lie
At times, it may seem like avoiding the truth or flat-out lying is a good idea, but carrying this burden can have a negative effect on you and your friendship in the long run. Friendships flourish when there is trust and loyalty.
- DO accept them for who they are
Remember that true friends are able to see beyond imperfections and flaws. If you feel like changing something about your friend, ask yourself what you can change about yourself instead.
- DON'T spend time with them only when you need something
When you call your friends, are you reaching out to them to find out how they're doing or to make plans together? Or is it because you need something?
Now I'm not saying this is you, but maybe you've come into contact with someone like this? If so, you know it's not a fun feeling. Nobody wants to feel used. And if this does sound like you, start trying to change your behavior one interaction at a time.
- DO support them when they most need it
Being supportive goes beyond just cheering someone up when they feel down. It means not giving up on them, even when they have given up on them themselves.
- DON'T talk behind their back
We're all guilty of doing this at some point in our lives, but gossip doesn't help anyone. In fact, it does the opposite. It's a toxic activity that hurls your energy into the opposite direction of where you want it to go.
- DO give them their space
A great and healthy relationship should be based on freedom and respect of each other's space and time. Good friends know when they need to step aside in order to recharge and know how to pick up right were they left off.
- DON'T be careless
Do you ever stop to wonder how the things you say or do could be affecting (or hurting) your friendships? Are you being mindful of other's feelings or is it just yourself that you think of?
Pay attention to your thoughts, words and actions... and remember that sometimes it's what we don't say that hurts the most. When was the last time you expressed your thanks for something a friend did or your love for someone who has always been there for you?
- DO give your most honest advice
It's common for friends to ask each other for advice. In fact, most of us rely on our friends to provide perspective and a different point-of-view. So the next time, a friend of yours asks for your opinion, make sure it's honest and coming from a good-hearted place. Great friends need to be able to trust each other's judgment.
- DON'T walk away when they need you the most
It's often been said, and it's true, that hard times reveal who your true friends are. Be there for your friends and cherish the people who will be there for you in tough times.
As you can see, being a true friend isn't always easy, but taking the time to cultivate a long and lasting relationship is definitely worth every ounce of effort. Wouldn't you agree?
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Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.