I will be the first to admit – I have been a lousy friend to many. Does that give me the right to post about it? Actually yes. Being a lousy friend and making mistakes teaches you a lot about what it takes to be a good friend.
- Does not need your constant attention
- Is content to be alone, but enjoys your company
- Friendship is borne out of fulfillment and not loneliness
Yes, perhaps that is a detailed definition of a true friend. But there’s more to that. Friends should look out for each other, friends should care for each other and friends should be willing to go out of their way to spend time with each other. Perhaps in the modern world, where we are all burdened by time-intensive tasks, managing friendship is like managing a full time job – it takes time and effort. This time and effort on our part equals emotional fulfillment for both the friends. Making and keeping friends are the two most important skills needed to maintain the essence of friendship.
This is actually easier than many people perceive. For most part of my adult life, I have lived out of 2 suitcases, and if lucky, out of a single room. This doesn’t mean that I am poor, just means that as a student, I moved around a lot. On these ventures, making friends is the first thing one learns. Making friends is easy, you need to connect with people and be open towards new experiences. Once you get talking with someone, you will be surprised about the traits that you share with them.
Integrity and respect are revered qualities between friends, and most people, including you, look for these when you meet new people. The question of morality and ethics is often raised between people who meet for the first time, and on that basis, most of us decide whether the stranger is worth keeping as a friend. Don’t worry if you don’t make too many friends, the trick is to maintain the friendship that you have, and that is the harder part.
Maintaining lifelong friendships and keeping in touch with everyone you know can be an arduous task. Even though social networking ventures such as Facebook have improved connectivity between people, it has also decreased the value of ‘friendship’. For example, I am connected to over 550 people on Facebook. Till a few months ago, I spoke to maybe, 15 in a month, if I was lucky. But a simple trick increased this number to 100. Now, I won’t say that these 100 people are my best friends. Rather, I speak to them, which in modern day is an ode to friendship.
So how can you keep friends? Through trust, commitment, and keeping in touch with them. It is important that you spend time with friends, and speak to them often. My dad makes it a point to call every friend whose number he has, at least once every 2 weeks. This is an excellent way to keep in touch with people. I increased the number of people I actively speak to on Facebook by following a similar strategy. I messaged all of them, which took good side of 10 hours. However, after I was done, I was soon talking to many friends who I hadn’t spoken to in years.
Making and keeping friends is important for our emotional and mental well-being.
Here is what I want you to do. Think of the first ever friend you made. Maybe it was when you were 4, maybe 5, or maybe 10. Try and get in touch with them, meet them if possible, and tell me how it goes. You will be surprised how much you two connect still as you recount your childhood experiences.
Image credit to Eastop