Friendships form an integral part of our life. We usually have a friend for every need. There are friends whom we turn to in times of troubles or some friends whom we turn to when we want to party. A friend that shares an ice cream topped with the latest gossip. The friend who will stand up to your ex-lover. The friend who will lie to your parents for you. The friend who will accompany you in your escapades without asking for any clarifications. Since friends take such an important place in our lives, it is essential that we maintain our friendship. Here are a few tips to handle and sustain friendships:
- Be aware
You should be aware of what is happening with your friend. Do not be afraid to ask your friend about things, especially his or her feelings. Your friend might be going through something that he or she feels embarrassed to tell other people about, including you. Since humans haven’t evolved into mind readers, you need ask your friend about it. You should know what is happening in his or her life to ensure that you understand what is going on and how that will affect your friend. Take an active interest in what your friend is doing.
- Be supportive
This is the main tenets of friendship. Unending support and support with no questions asked. Be ready to stand up for your friends when they are in trouble and you. This is a very important test of friendship. Do not falter when your friends asks you to back him or her. You friend may not show that he or she requires any help, but offer to give a hand nonetheless. A step from your side in this direction will mean a lot to your friends. And if friends see a supportive person in you, they are more than likely to reciprocate the same to you. So, you can expect complete backing from your friends the next time that you are in trouble.
- Keep an open ear
If you want to be a good friend, it is essential for you to be a good listener as well. You need to hear your friend’s problems to be able to help or support him or her. It is not just about fun conversations and parties. Sometimes, especially during crucial times, it is about lending an ear and a shoulder to a friend in need. Some people, especially introverts, share their thoughts and feelings only with their friends. This makes the presence of friends in their lives extremely important and cathartic. Then you, as their friend, have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. You need to hear what they say and let them express them completely. Most times, talking about a problem with a good friend makes the problem seem smaller.
- Be trustworthy
When your friend tells you something that he or she wants to be kept a secret, adhere to your friend’s wishes. Do not gossip about your friends. It makes you a bad one. Respect the secret that your friend tells you, no matter how spicy it is. Loss of trust in a friendship is a serious matter and may gravely damage friendships. Do not le to your friends. Even if there is a reason for you to lie, come clean to them as soon as you can. Make sure you tell them about your lie soon before someone else can do the honours for you. It will really hurt a friend to hear about your indiscretions and lies from someone else.
- Don’t judge
An additional part to listening and supporting your friends is refraining from judging them. So, your friend dated the wrong guy or did a moronic thing. It is very important that you keep your harsh judgements to yourself. The first thing you need to do is help your friend out of the situation. If people laugh at your friend, you should not join in the laughter, but be on the side of your friend. Of course friends occasionally do things that you do not like or endorse. You are free to reprimand them for the act. But do not assume the worst in your friends because they expect you to believe in the best in them. Judging other people is different than judging your own friends. You should know when to draw your line.
- Respect your friends
Respect what your friend does. So what if your friend has planned to quit her job to look after her kids without caring about her career? You should respect her decision and help her sort out the details of the plan. It is not necessary that you and your friends have the same mindset about everything and very often you both will do things differently. In this case, you should respect what your friend does and not try to change him or her. It gives your friend a sense of security. Your friends are there for you always, and they expect gratitude and respect from you for what they do for you. Lastly, treat your friends as equals and not someone who you can use at your will or someone who is beneath you.