Here are 10 tips on how to make and keep good friendships.
There is a secret to friendship: try to like, rather than try to be liked. Try to be liked, and you’ll be a ‘try-hard’ who misses it. Genuinely like others, and give friendship, and it will all come back to you in time. Friendship is boomerang shaped. Fire it at people, and it usually comes straight back at you.
People love it when you use their name. It says that you’re interested in them and it’s a great way to help build a friendship.
Listen. Not just for a gap in the conversation where you can say your bit, but really listen. Ask questions that show that you’re interested. Listen with your eyes. And don’t fall asleep.
Be honest and tell the truth in your friendships. Dishonesty causes unnecessary problems. Sooner or later it always catches up on you and can break friendships down.
Put-downs and nick-names can be funny, but they cut straight to the ego, and the ego has no sense of humour. Instead, pass around a few compliments. People sometimes don’t know how to handle them (they probably don’t get many) but no-one ever minds getting a genuine compliment. Love is an action not a feeling.
“I can live three months on one good compliment.” – Mark Twain.
When your friends tell you their secrets it means that they trust you, respect you and think highly of the friendship. Be privileged enough to keep secrets. The only time you wouldn’t keep a secret is if it involved harm to yourself or another person. The best thing to do is go and tell an adult, even better take your friend with you. Check out our SOS page for help!
Birthdays, Christmas, Valentines Day, Anniversaries, Mothers or Fathers day, if it’s a special day take time out to celebrate it. If it’s your friend’s birthday maybe you could pitch in and buy your friend lunch or even better get them a birthday cake.
Nothing kills a friendship faster than suffocation. Give your friends some space. People hate to feel manipulated, boxed in or ‘owned’. Especially beware of showing offence if your friend wants to spend time with others or on their own. Can you be too friendly? Maybe – you can scare people off if they think that you are coming on too fast.
Everyone likes to make a good impression, but sometimes that means people pretend to be someone that they are not. Drop the mask, let people see the real you. In actual fact, masks repel people. You are far more likely to be well liked when people know that you are ‘transparent’ – open and honest.
You’ve got layers. There are parts to you near the surface that you don’t mind people seeing and knowing about – things like your taste in music, your choice of sports, hobbies etc. But you also have deeper levels – your fears, feelings, beliefs… deep personal stuff that you don’t just share with anyone.
Part of being socially skilled is knowing how to manage your layers. Some people let people into their inner layers far too quickly. You meet someone on the bus and the next minute they’re telling you about some deep personal problem. Whoah! Too fast. This sort of confidential stuff can be embarrassing to new friends and scare them off.
Some problems you go through you need to talk to someone you really trust like your mum or dad or a counsellor. Other things you go through you can just talk to a friend, or maybe you need to talk to a teacher.
The key is, when you do go through a rough time, talk to someone you trust. If you can’t think of anyone check out this page… SOS.