When it comes to our mental and physical health, friendship is the best medicine. A fantastic friendship is something to protect and savor. However, balancing work, family, and social life can be challenging, but things get complicated by adding friendships.
I remember losing contact with my childhood best friend, Barley when I moved to a new state to further my studies for ten years. I never saw her until I decided to look for her. I drove to her parent’s home, and there I got her mobile number from her mom. We planned to meet up, and we did. It was like no time had passed, even though we were in different parts of the globe for a decade. Reuniting with her was the most fulfilling experience in my life.
What made our friendship so strong? Aside from the fact that we have known each other since we were kids, here are nine ways of maintaining friendships across all stages of life;
No matter how close you are to someone, miscommunications are bound to happen. It’s important to be able to talk about your feelings and express yourself clearly to maintain a healthy friendship. When I finally met Barley again, we talked about what had happened in our lives for the past ten years. It felt really good to catch up, and I realized that even though we were apart, our friendship was still as strong as ever.
The best friendships are those that can withstand the test of time. One way to make sure your friendships last a lifetime is to maintain contact. Stay in touch with them through social media, text messages, or in person. It will keep the company strong and remind both parties that they are essential to each other.
Respect is crucial in any relationship, and friendship is no exception. We must learn to respect each other’s opinions, even if we disagree. Barley and I may not have always seen eye to eye, but we always respected each other’s point of view.
As we get older, we also become more aware of our boundaries. If you have a friend who is always crossing your limits, it may be time to talk with them about it. Explain to them that their behavior makes you uncomfortable and ask them to respect your personal space.
Friends should be there for each other, especially during tough times. Barley is always there for me when I need someone to talk to. She listens patiently and offers words of wisdom and support, which I genuinely appreciate.
True friends are there for each other through thick and thin. When one of your friends is going through a tough time, be there for them. Offer Words of encouragement or support, whichever they need the most. Do not judge them, and let them know that you are always available to talk if they need to. Having a friend who is willing to listen and offer support is a valuable thing.
4. Show Appreciation and Make Time
Comfort and familiarity toward another person breed contempt. We often take our friends for granted and don’t bother to show gratitude. Make it a point to let your friends know you enjoy their presence in your life. It will make them feel valued and appreciated. Please find time to meet friends or stay in touch with them through social media or text messages despite being busy.
5. Avoid Making Any Assumptions and Alter Your Expectations
In every relationship, we are likely to impose particular assumptions and expectations. Don’t act fast to judge your friends when they don’t meet up to your expectations. Instead, try to communicate with your friends about what you expect from them. You will get to know their point of view and work out a solution that works for both of you.
You might show affection through favors and gifts, but you shouldn’t expect the same in return; doing so will only lead to disappointment and ruin the friendship. I only send gifts during birthdays, but not a single week goes by without me receiving a gift from Barley. I never felt bad about it because I know she loves to give gifts, but some people might see it as an expectation that could ruin the friendship.
6. Maintain The Relationship Off Social Media
Although it’s great to stay connected with our friends through social media, nothing can replace meeting up with them. Meet with your friends as often as possible and have real-life conversations. It will help to strengthen the friendship.
7. Fight Fair
When you are fighting with your friends, avoid getting personal. It will make the situation worse or damage the friendship permanently. Instead, focus on the issue at hand and find a solution that works for both of you.
Previously during my college days, we argued with my friend during a party, and I said something hurtful to him. after some time, we sat down and talked about it. I apologized for my words, and he forgave me. Since then, our friendship has become stronger than ever.
8. Be Honest
If you feel like you are growing apart from a friend, be honest with them. after college, we didn’t communicate with my lifetime friend for quite some time as everyone was adjusting to the new phase of life. Only when I gathered the courage to reach out and became honest about how I felt that we were able to reconnect.
Explain your situation and let them know that you still value their friendship. Often, both parties will be relieved to have an honest discussion about the situation.
9. Be Intentional About Your Connection
Avoid growing cold your friendship by being intentional about your relationship. Make an effort to catch up with your friends regularly, even if it is just for a quick coffee chat. Set a regular “friend date” where you can catch up without interruption.
In conclusion, having friends in different stages of life is both a blessing and a challenge. By following the five tips mentioned above, you can maintain these friendships and enjoy their benefits to your life.