Have you lost friendships that you thought would last forever? It’s easy to drift apart and become strangers without knowing why. Worst of all, the pain of a broken friendship can be as bad as a romantic breakup—especially when you thought you would be BFFs.
You might go ahead to make new friends but if you don’t know how to build strong friendships that can last a lifetime, you’ll keep revisiting the pain of losing them.
In this article, we’ll talk about how you can build strong friendships that last a lifetime. Enjoy!
How to Build Strong Friendships: 12 Tips that Work
1. Re-evaluate Friendship
To build strong friendships, you need to re-evaluate the old friends you have. Doing this will help you know if you’re in a healthy friendship with them or need to make new friends.
For instance, building a lasting friendship with a narcissistic person is not healthy, you should cut them off for your peace of mind.
If you wish to re-evaluate your friendship, write down some of the best qualities your friends possess and how they’ve positively influenced you. This will help you gain more clarity on what you should do next.
2. Make Time
How would you feel if your friends constantly decline an invitation to spend time with them?
When you frequently turn down an invitation to hang out with friends, they’ll stop extending invitations because they might think you don’t want to be around them.
Not making time for friends will cause a rift and you would be mending a broken friendship instead of building a lasting one.
Make time to discover new hangout spots, go on road trips, hop on video calls or attend events with them. Also, text or randomly call them. That way, you maintain a close bond amid busy schedules.
3. Be Open-minded
It’s important to remember that you and your friends have different personalities, values, and upbringings. If you want to build strong friendships with them, you have to be open-minded and willing to understand their perspective in every situation. This helps reduce friction or arguments in the relationship and be less judgmental when addressing issues.
4. Show Support
One of the importance of friendship is showing support to a friend at all times. Your friends will feel loved and appreciated when you show them that you’re there through thick and thin.
To show support, you should:
- Constantly reach out.
- Attentively listen to them when they’re talking.
- Not judge them.
- Understand their situation and show empathy.
- Reassure and encourage them.
- Avoid overused phrases when sympathizing with them.
- Be willing to help.
- Know when to give them some space.
Doing these will improve your relationship with them and eventually lead to a lasting friendship.
5. Set Boundaries
Boundaries are necessary to build strong friendships because they establish mutual trust, respect, and promote accountability.
On that note, setting necessary boundaries is needed to ensure the success of your friendship and some of these boundaries are:
- How to handle fights or arguments
- Life and career
- Deal breakers
- How to handle family and friends
- Third-party interference
Also, respecting these boundaries will reduce arguments and increase satisfaction.
6. Be Positive
Being a true friend involves positively influencing the lives of your friends. Rather than make unnecessary comparisons and create unhealthy competition, you should strive to cheer your friends when they win.
Additionally, avoid making negative comments or finding fault. For instance, when they’re pursuing a career or goal, don’t remind them of the negative things or point out why they don’t deserve what they’re going for. Instead, cheer them on and talk about their best qualities that fit what they’re looking for.
Doing this doesn’t only help you maintain a healthy friendship, it also helps make it stronger.
7. Communicate Honestly
To form a strong connection and intimacy with your friend, practice honest and open communication. When your friend is talking, attentively listen to them with no interruptions. This will help them confide in you more, which propels the friendship forward.
Inversely, cutting them off and hijacking the discussion will make them feel you have no interest in hearing what they have to say. This will make them withdraw from you and avoid conversations, which will eventually lead to a broken friendship.
8. Give and Accept Genuine Feedback
Giving and accepting genuine feedback is another important point on how to build strong friendships. Although accepting feedback can be difficult, true friends know how to point out what you’re doing wrong without hurting your feelings. When they give their honest opinion, accept it graciously, reflect and make changes where necessary.
On the other hand, give genuine feedback when your friends ask for your opinion or do something wrong. Rather than exaggerate their behaviors or misinterpret their actions, reflect on what they’ve done and address it kindly.
9. Build Trust
When you make new friends, it’s easier to build trust. But rebuilding trust with old friends can take a long time. However, the easy way to build trust with new friends is to remain reliable and trustworthy. They should be able to count on you to keep a secret, have their back, and remain loyal.
To rebuild trust with old friends, you have to:
- Show remorse.
- Sincerely apologize in words and actions.
- Give solid assurance that trust won’t be broken again.
- Give your friends time to accept your apology and heal.
When they’re able to trust you again, your friendship will grow stronger by the day—as long as you don’t break their trust again.
10. Be Authentic
Being yourself is one of the key points on how to build strong friendships. When you put up a facade, you deceive your friends and betray their trust even before the friendship begins. They would be hurt and uncertain about you when they realize you haven’t been genuine with them.
More so, if they don’t accept you for who you are, then you shouldn’t be around them. Rather than be a round peg trying to fit into a square hole, find those who will truly appreciate you for who you are and build a long-lasting friendship with them.
11. Show Gratitude
Show your friends that you value them through words and actions. Always use kind words around them and give them gifts, no matter how small. This could be writing them a note or taking them out for lunch, especially when it’s not their birthdays or special occasions.
This way, they will know you appreciate and value them. This will strengthen the bond you have with them.
12. Address Toxic Behaviours
When you address toxic behaviors, you help your friends to work on their attitude and change for good—if they want to. But first, you have to know what signs to look out for. Some of the signs of a toxic friendship include:
- Lack of support
- Not respecting boundaries
- Constantly playing the victim card
- One-sided effort
- Inability to keep secrets, e.t.c
To build strong friendships, you have to be intentional about who you are friends with. So start with re-evaluating your friends. If they’re worth keeping, go ahead and make time for them. Build trust, show support, be open-minded and always address toxic behaviors.