Friendship matters. Beyond a certain age, you realize that it’s not about having a huge circle of friends. All that matters is that you are happy with your friends, no matter how many. But it’s no piece of cake. It takes work. On Friendship Day 2023, let us tell you howmaintain friendships.
Health Shots reached out to psychotherapist, life and business coach Dr. Chandni Tugnait for some tips on keeping friendships strong.
Reasons why you find it difficult to maintain friendships
Do you sometimes ask yourself, “Why am I having trouble maintaining friendships?” »
Well, friendship is about mutual understanding, caring, and commitment. But sometimes maintaining long-term friendships becomes difficult. Here are some reasons why this can happen:
1. Social anxiety or low self-esteem
You may feel insecure around others or fear being judged, which causes you to withdraw socially, says Dr. Tugnait. You may frequently isolate or cancel plans, which will eventually end the relationship.
2. Difficulty of vulnerability
You might struggle to emotionally open up to others or resist the vulnerability necessary for closeness. Past betrayals or disappointments can lead to fear of opening up.
3. Intense emotional reactions
You may have intense emotional reactions that strain bonds or cause dramatic mood swings that confuse your friends. Mood swings, temper tantrums, hypersensitivity can drive your friends away.
4. Lack of reciprocity
You may be too self-centered or demanding in your relationships and fail to show interest in your friends’ lives in return.
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5. Competition or jealousy
Comparisons and envy of friends’ successes can lead to resentment and distance.
6. Poor communication skills
Defensiveness in conflict, inability to express feelings constructively, and failure to listen impede resolution. You may lack the skills to manage conflict, listen with empathy, or express your feelings, which hampers problem solving.
7. Low Commitment
You may be reluctant to invest time and effort in nurturing consistent friendships. You could operate with an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, says the expert.
8. Lifestyle Differences
Differing paths and mismatched interests, priorities, or values over time can cause friendships to fade.
Also Read: 5 Ways To Help Every Introvert Build Lasting Bonds
Tips for Maintaining Friendships
If you want to nurture strong friendships as an adult, follow these steps.
1. Make time for each other
Schedule regular catch-up sessions, whether virtually or in person, to spend quality time actively nurturing the friendship. Don’t always wait for the right moment, says Dr. Tugnait.
2. Communicate openly
Openly discuss the joys and frustrations in the relationship. Don’t let the little annoyances pile up and listen.
3. Show your appreciation
Regularly express how much friendship means. Send thoughtful gifts or messages. It doesn’t have to be just birthdays or any other special occasion.
4. Keep promises
Do not engage in projects or favors that you cannot achieve. Honor your word to deepen trust, suggests the expert.
5. Allow friendships to evolve
Accept that interests or priorities may change as you and your friends change. Adapt to the new phases of life together.
6. Give yourself space
Respect each other’s boundaries and your need for alone time or space away from friendship from time to time. Time spent apart can surprisingly strengthen bonds.
7. Put distractions away
Avoid using the phone or multitasking when you’re together. Be fully present and engaged in everything you do with your friends.
8. Celebrate milestones
Make occasions like birthdays, achievements, or holidays special. Share and support major life events.
Nurturing a lasting friendship takes a little effort, but you can get so much out of it, especially in times of stress.