Making friends is easy; keeping and maintaining your relationship with them is a lot harder! It is rare to find people who are still close friends with people they have known for more than 10 years. Life gets in the way, and for various reasons, some of which might not be within your control, you find yourself drifting away from your friends, and your list keeps becoming smaller.
Breaking up with friends or drifting away from them can hurt just as much as ending any other relationship. It is, especially, a sad experience for anyone who wishes they could know how to keep more good friends in their life. In this day, where most friends are toxic, it is paramount to maintain the good friendships you have right now. This means that even though you are trying to build lifelong friendships, not all the types of friends you make along the way deserve to be in your life.
When choosing which friendships to maintain, ask yourself why you want to keep them, the value they add to your life, and how they make you feel. After your evaluation, don’t be afraid to cut off any types of toxic friends you might have as they do not influence your life positively. In this article, we shall discuss how to keep more good friends in your life because you need to maintain lifelong friendships with the people who bring out the best in you and those that support you.
How to Keep More Good Friends in Your Life
- Interact frequently
Communication is the key to any successful relationship, including friendships. During your younger years, making and keeping more good friends is easier because there are numerous opportunities for you to interact with them such as school, playgrounds, church, and other shared interests.
However, as you grow older, for instance, past your 20s and 30s, keeping more good friends in your life becomes harder, and making new ones might not be easy too. Your interactions with your friends reduce, probably because of increased responsibilities as you start having families, work, a change in interests, or the distance (as some might move away).
If you want to learn how to keep more good friends in your life and avoid things like distance making you drift apart, you must make an effort to stay in touch. You could create opportunities to interact with each other, such as regular calls, meeting up for special events like birthdays, doing fun things together, arranging sleepovers, starting similar projects, and keeping each other updated on what is going on in your lives.
With constant interactions, you will never lack something to talk about and will support each other when things aren’t going well for either of you. Staying in touch with your close friends is one of the best things you can do for your future self.
- Be honest
You can only lead a fake life for so long before it all falls apart. Honesty is the foundation for any relationship, and if you start a friendship based on lies, it will likely not last. You might eventually grow tired of putting up a façade, or you could be discovered as being fake. Building lifelong friendships works best if both parties are authentic and honest about who they are.
On the topic of honesty, friends who usually tell you the truth about what they think of you are better than those who try to be nice by telling you what they think you want to hear or lying. Some good reasons to keep more friends who are honest with you are that you can count on them to let you know when you are wrong and they will not let you make a fool of yourself if they can prevent it by telling you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it.
Similarly, be honest with your friends in return. Note that by being an honest person, you might alienate some ’friends’ who may not appreciate your straightforwardness, but it will help you filter them out and remain with the right friendships.
- Learn to let people in
Similar to honesty, for a friendship to grow deeper, you need to trust other people. If you want to learn how to keep more good friends in your life, start by being more vulnerable with them. Open up to them about your life, hopes, struggles, and dreams.
If you remain closed off and never let anyone know the real you, you could be pushing people away as they might think you aren’t interested in being friends with them.
However, this is not to say that you should go around telling everyone all your secrets. If someone has not given you a reason not to trust them, you should try putting yourself out there and let them in. Being open with other people will prompt them to be open with you too, and thus you develop a stronger bond and build lifelong friendships based on trust.
- Be supportive
The old saying, a friend in need is a friend indeed, has a lot of truth in it. The best friendships are the ones where you support each other in good times and bad times. Providing various types of support to your friends when they are going through hard times is one of the best ways to start keeping more good friends in your life. Accept them as they are and support their decisions without judgment even though you might not always agree with them.
One type of toxic friend you will need to get rid of first is the ‘disappearing act‘. These are the types of friends who usually come to you when they need something from you and leave when they no longer need you. So, when choosing which friendships to maintain, pay attention to how people react when you need support from them and what value they add to your life. If they are nowhere to be found during your difficult times, they don’t deserve to be in your life during your good times or even when they need something from you.
As you learn how to keep more good friends in your life, be more appreciative of the ones who support you during your difficult times and support them as well when they need you.
- Manage your expectations
As mentioned earlier, as you get older, your responsibilities increase. And while you would like to stay in touch with your friends all the time, it might not be possible. Remember that your friends’ lives are also changing. And no matter how close you are, you might not be their top priority anymore.
Not having too high expectations of your friends is one of the best things you can do if you want to learn how to keep more good friends in your life. Expecting too much from them could push them away as you might come off as being too needy. Your friends could feel guilty for not being able to support you in all the ways you need and start avoiding you.
To build lifelong friendships and maintain them, you should manage your expectation of others. Do not expect your friends to always drop everything and be there for you all the time. They could have other important things to deal with first such as their kids or partners. Expecting friends to be at your beck and call is one of the signs of main character syndrome, which is often not a good thing.
However, even as you revise your expectations of them, don’t let this become a one-sided friendship where your energy and effort are never reciprocated. If it comes to this, your best option might be to match their energy and back away as well.
- Don’t let conflicts escalate
Conflicts between friends are normal. But, unfortunately, when not dealt with well, many friendships end because of misunderstandings or holding grudges about issues you can resolve. For example, you might choose to ignore a conflict hoping that you will get over it. But then you keep thinking about it or bringing it up in conversations, thus straining your friendship.
If you want to learn how to keep more good friends in your life, however, you have to put more effort into resolving any issues that could be negatively affecting your friendship with someone. If you need to talk about it or apologize, do so before resentment develops and you drift away from each other.
READ ALSO: 7 Ways to Avoid Drama in Your Life
Friends are a vital part of your life. However, even as you are trying to make and keep more friends in your life, don’t force it. Friendship is something that should come naturally. And while you can work on strengthening your bond with people, assess when a friend is worthy of the effort and energy you invest in them.
On your life’s journey, you meet different types of friends, and it is not easy to know which ones you can fully trust and which ones to only maintain a casual relationship with. Thus, if you do manage to find people who bring out the best in you, support you, or add value to your life in other ways, try your best to build lifelong friendships with them.
Making and maintaining lifelong friendships is not easy, but it is worth all the effort you put into it. Use the above tips if you want to learn how to keep more good friends in your life.
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