Humans are inherently social animals. Our friends are our brain trust, our support network, our ‘partners in crime’ and most trusted confidants. Together, we love, laugh and mourn loss. But, how often do we stop, take a step back and truly analyse our friendships?
Find true fulfilment in friendship by using integrative life coaching techniques to enhance your most treasured relationships, reach out to new people and forget the friends that drain you.
Maintaining existing friendships
Being a good friend
True friendships should be able to survive anything; even one of you moving away, starting a family or spending more time at work. Here’s how to keep your friendship solid:
- Be fun: Don’t just meet up to gripe. Plan fun activities that revolve around your shared interests to remind each other why you were drawn together in the first place.
- Be present: Even if you can’t be physically present, let them know you’re thinking of them with regular social media posts and phone calls. An old-fashioned letter with a few choice photos can be worth more than its weight in gold.
- Be supportive: Learn to recognise when your friends need help, even before they ask for it. Reach out and offer assistance, or just be there as a shoulder to lean on.
- Be trusting: Always believe them unless proved otherwise, and don’t let resentment build when you’re apart; you might both be preoccupied with the same things.
- Be respectful: Respect your friend’s life choices, and always take care to remember the things that are important to them, like birthdays, cultural events or anniversaries.
These are three of the sure-fire things that can test a friendship to its limits:
- Over-exposure: Spending too much time together can magnify annoying habits and highlight disagreements. Taking a short break won’t diminish your friendship. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
- Highlighting flaws: Our best friends know us intimately. But, over-emphasising flaws can quickly turn things sour. Acknowledge and accept each other’s flaws, and never use them to score cheap points during an argument.
- Betrayal: Lying or going behind a person’s back are boundaries that should not be crossed. Such action can easily end a friendship, or alter it beyond recognition.
Forgiveness is a precious attribute and should always be considered. But, if a friend exhibits this behaviour regularly, think about how positive an influence they are, and whether they’re worthy of your continued attention.
Whenever a friendship comes to an end, think back on the role you played, and whether you could have acted differently to help smooth things over.
Making new friends
Making new friends can be an exhilarating, even life-changing experience. Here are the most important things to think about when reaching out:
- Consistency: Seeing each other regularly is key to making friends. Try meeting people at a weekly event, at work or in the local area.
- Vulnerability: Expressing vulnerabilities – your innermost thoughts and feelings – is the only way to truly build trust.
- Positivity: Being positive ensures that you add something to another’s life, rather than becoming a burden.
- Common interests: Finding common interests can form a solid basis for a friendship; try meeting people at the gym, a book club or evening class.
- Social anxiety: In some ways, we all have it. Integrative life coaching can outline a process that will help you face your social fears.
- Accessibility: Start with easy comments and questions to make yourself accessible. Be inquisitive to keep the conversation flowing.
Discover how integrative life coaching can transform your social life and help you find true happiness.