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13 Habits of Close Friendships That Last - Social Wellness

13 Habits of Close Friendships That Last - Social Wellness

Do you want to build friendships that last the test of time? You’re not alone. 

Most people are looking for a sense of belonging and connection. Research by Harvard following men over decades revealed that their greatest source of happiness came not from fame or fortune, but from their relationships.

What is the easiest way to start building close friendships that last? Start being a good friend. Practice the thirteen habits of those who have maintained friendships over the decades listed below. 

1. Generosity of Heart

Strong friendships that last a lifetime connect two hearts. You celebrate each other’s victories and support each other in times of frustration and failure. The desire is to be a source of joy in each other’s lives.

2. Patience Over Perfect

Arguments, misunderstandings, and mistakes can pull two friends apart. Friends who last understand that you don’t need to kick a friendship to the curb when things get tough. Sometimes, friends need to seek out reconciliation. Other times it is wise to give the relationship a bit of ‘breathing room’ before coming back together again.

3. Positivity

Strong friendships make it a habit to focus on the positive. They steer away from the jagged rocks of gossip. Pesisim and complaining have little airing space. 

Instead of circling over problems and recriminations, the focus is on helping one another to release negative experiences and emotions. A co-dependent relationship is not a friendship that will last the test of time. A good friend wants those they love to seize back their power and search for solutions.

4. Empathetic listening

Friendships that last understand how critical it is to listen with their full attention and heart. They make a habit of putting away their digital devices and showing up with full concentration for their friends. Instead of crafting a response, or filtering what they are hearing through their narrative, outstanding friends quiet their thoughts. 

Fully present, good friends listen while trying to place themselves in the shoes of the person sitting next to them. They ask questions to ensure they understand. They seek out details or different angles of the story or situation.

5. No Narcissists Allowed

Friendships that last a lifetime reject narcissism. One person, no matter how charming or talented, cannot be the focus of the relationship for a friendship to last. Each individual has an equal stage of time to talk while the other listens attentively. Each friend is happy to take a step back and let the other shine in their moment of triumph.

6. When the Going Gets Tough

Friendships strong enough to last our built on trust. When hardship hits the friend is there, no questions asked, to lend a hand or open their arms. Over a lifetime the repeated showing to help when the going gets tough builds a love and appreciation that can withstand storms of misunderstanding and arguments.

7. Good Friends Say No

You need to be able to say no to build a strong friendship that lasts. You need to know your values, desires, and dreams. Setting clear boundaries and communicating how you are prioritizing your life is kind. Good friends then understand when someone needs to fall out of the picture for a few months. Instead of wondering where the friend went, or if the affection is gone, they can cheer their friend on.

A dear friend could have little time to invest in a friendship to finish that business plan, start writing that novel, begin training for the triathlon, or to devout more time to their family. 

8. Create Annual Rituals

A habit of friendships that lasts a lifetime is regular meetings. For some years it could be enjoying a coffee together every day, or every week, or meeting for lunch once a month. It could be traveling to celebrate the 4th of July together every year, or going on the annual yoga retreat the first weekend of June. 

Strong friendships take the nightmare of aligning schedules by creating a regular schedule for meeting and reconnecting.

9. Authentically You

You can’t build a friendship that lasts for years on a foundation of lies. Sure, you may want to paint a perfect picture on social media. With friends, you need to be honest. Otherwise, you lose a sense of depth and forgo the opportunity to connect at a stronger level.

It doesn’t mean you need to spin around and around the same trauma or unpleasant issues. Just a quick mention that you’re going through a tough time, or that you are struggling with some areas of your life is enough. You can still keep the spin positive and your projection empowered.

Admitting to weaknesses, sadness, fears, or hardships won’t make you a drag to be around. It will make you more human. The intimacy of opening up will make the good times that much sweeter, and more real, to your friends.

10. Laugh Often & Play

Strong friendships that last are built on laughter and fun. You associate positive emotions with your good friend. Even in times of despair, you can help each other laugh a bit through the sheer misery of the situation. 

11. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

If you want your friendship to last you need a little RESPECT. Arrogance and feeling superior will degrade your relationship. With time your friendship, no matter how fun, will erode under the force of disrespect. Don’t worry. You don’t need to agree with your friend’s values, opinions, beliefs, or life choices to offer up a generous dose of respect. 

12. Reject Jealousy

Jealousy has no space in a friendship that lasts a lifetime. True friends don’t feel the need to downplay their accomplishments, talents, strengths, or good fortune. They know their good friend wants the best for them in life. If jealousy does rear its ugly face, it is shown to the door. Jealousy is quickly converted to admiration or a shift in perspective to focus on the hard work entailed. Few have a perfect life in every area. 

Even if they do, times of hardship and stress descend on even the best, brightest, and most beautiful among us. An outstanding friend understands there is suffering in life, and is happy when their friend can enjoy seventh heaven for a time. 

13. Show Me the Love

To build a friendship that lasts there needs to be appreciation for each other. Compliments are the perfect preventative medicine in some relationships. In other friendships, the secret sauce is affection, gratitude, gifts, or little acts of service. 

Brilliant friendships look for ways to make each other feel loved.

Maybe Not a Lifetime

There will be friendships that ebb and flow in closeness and connection. This is normal. There will also be friends that change and drift away, despite your best intentions. It could also be that a friend develops toxic behavior that endangers your well-being. In these situations, you will need to say goodbye to a friend. 

Keep venturing forth to add new friends to your life and practice the habits of good friendship with all your friends. You may be surprised to find which one of your friendships ends up being the one that lasts a lifetime.

Wishing you radiant joy, health, and love, Heather Lenz

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