Hello everyone! It’s Krista, one of LeaderShape’s Community Engagement Interns. Today we’re talking about friendships. In my 22 years of life, I have definitely struggled with making quality friendships. People can be tricky to read and it can be hard to know who to let into your inner circle. I have been terrified to open up to new people in fear of them leaving me for other friends, but it’s important to put yourself out there. You will meet your forever friends, trust me! You just have to give yourself permission to let it happen.
Yes, good friends can be hard to come by, but you will find them. Sometimes it just takes a little patience. Here are a few of the ways I have found that are essential in creating and maintaining meaningful friendships — & keeping them strong as ever!
Let yourself be vulnerable, trust is key.
Being vulnerable can be difficult. It’s hard to find people you know you can trust to open up to, but it’s so important to have those people in your life. Vulnerability is something a lot of people like to avoid, though surface level relationships are not sustainable in the long run. You need people you can trust to talk about the things that really matter. Being vulnerable takes practice, but once you’re able to do it well with friends you can trust, then you’ve got yourself a strong friendship that will last.
“The best proof of love is trust.” -Joyce Brothers
Give each other space when it’s needed.
Sometimes you just need time to be alone, and that’s okay. Space can give you room to breathe and that can actually create stronger relationships with those in your life. Being alone gives you time to gain a better understanding of who you are as a person, as well as who you need to surround yourself with for a more fulfilling life. Just be respectful about your need to be alone for a little while; let your friends know in a clear way – so they know you aren’t avoiding them, but you really just need personal time to grow.
“I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.” -Olivia Wilde
Remember to create time for one another.
Life can get busy. It’s inevitable, but it’s important to not forget about your friendships amongst the chaos of life. Make time for each other, even when it seems like you have no time at all. This can seem especially hard when it’s a long distance friendship, but there are a few ways to easily make time for the people that matter. It would be best to find time to meet in person, but if you can’t do that, try to call them or video chat. Don’t always rely on social media. Social media is can be an amazing way to keep in touch with friends and family, but people can often use social media in a way that can hinder relationships instead of cultivating growth.
“No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.” -Robert Southey
Make each other smile.
Friendship is built on people that can make you smile even on your darkest days, so making your friend feel safe enough to talk about those feelings, but also be able to help them forget about it for a little while. Remember the little things your friends love to show you care. Put effort into your relationships, and prove that you truly care about those who mean the most to you.
“Share your smile with the world. It’s a symbol of friendship and peace.” -Christie Brinkley
Be upfront and honest.
They say honesty is the best policy, and it really is true. If you have an issue with a friend, it’s best to just be upfront with them. It will cause less stress in the long run, plus many times people don’t even pick up on your potential hints of anger. Just ask your friend to sit down and talk with you about the problem as soon as possible after it happens. Being passive aggressive about something rarely every solves the problem, it just makes everything worse. Dishonesty in a friendship ruins trust and a lack of trust could end the relationship once and for all. Just remember to be kind-hearted in your honesty — do not intentionally hurt others with your words. Remember that mind-reading doesn’t exist, so you’ll need to actually tell your friends what is on your mind to solve the problem. Trust is the foundation for a meaningful relationship — honesty allows for love.
“Honest communication is built on truth and integrity and upon respect of the one for the other.” -Benjamin E. Mays
Krista Lindwall is a Community Engagement Intern at LeaderShape. A recent graduate of Marquette University, Krista loves creating excessive amounts of Spotify playlists, making memories with family and friends, adventuring around her city and beyond, drinking copious cups of peppermint tea, and learning to become a social justice warrior in her community. Follow Krista on Twitter at @krista_lindwall.
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”