Friends can be challenging, confusing and sometimes down right frustrating. Sometimes we wonder why bother? But friendship is important to your well-being and they help fill our lives with conversation, heartfelt support, and fun. And when we fall on hard times, who is there to help pick us up? A good friend.
What’s a strong friendship made of? The ‘recipe’ is quite simple.
1. Spend Regular Time Together
How many minutes in a day do you spend just being together and enjoying each other’s company?
Unfortunately, many couples in a fast-paced society find that they have little time left over for each other at the end of the day or week.
Spending time together often requires a conscious commitment and effort to schedule time and not get overloaded with other activities.
For example, Find some way of making contact with each other every day. Even if it is just a quick five-minute, heart-felt phone call. Or it might be a love note in your partner’s lunch. Or an email. Or it might be twenty minutes when you reunite at the end of the day. Go for a walk in the neighborhood.
2. Get to Know Each Other
One measure of friendship is how well you know your partner and vice versa. The following exercise can help you and your partner to get to know each other more deeply. You may be able to add your own ideas to this list. Add your own questions at the end of this list if you can think of more.
- What would your ideal relationship look like?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you want to live?
- If you could change anything about our life, what would you want to change? What would you want to stay the same?
- What kinds of things make you feel loved by me (either things I am already doing or things you would like me to do more of)?
- What are some unforgettable moments in your life?
3. Focus on the Positive in Your Friend
Read through the list of adjectives below. Choose 5 or 6 adjectives that describe your friend and that you admire in him or her. Then think about a recent situation when your friend showed these characteristics. This will help you focus on the positive attributes of your friend and they would probably like you to share your feelings with them!
- A deep thinker
- Knowledgeable, to name a few.
4. Show Appreciation and Gratitude for Each Other
Play the appreciation game with your friend. One of you starts by saying something that you appreciate about the other person. Then the other person says something that he or she appreciates about you. Continue taking turns stating one thing that you each appreciate about the other. See how many you can get.
The take-home message
When you have positive people in your life, friends you can truly rely on, you will be more mindful of your blessings and gratitude. You don’t just “live” when you have good friends, you thrive.
For more information about friendships and relationships the following resources may be helpful.
- The Benefits of Friendship. Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/the-benefits-of-friendship-on-a-relationship/
- Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/friendships/MH00125
- Friends Wanted: The health risks of loneliness and the benefits of strong social connections. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/01/cover-friends.aspx
- Friends and co-workers: Research offers insights into how to juggle your personal and professional relationships in research settings. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2012/01/relationships.aspx
- Intimacy: The Art of Relationships. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/196912/intimacy-the-art-relationships
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