The makings of a positive friendship

BLOG | 07 JUL 2021

The makings of a positive friendship

From early childhood we start forming friendships. Over time, these friendships may fizzle out or come to an end, but sometimes these friendships continue for many years.

 When a friendship ends, we often feel hurt, even to the point of grief. When a friendship starts to fizzle out or reaches an end it is not uncommon to make assumptions about the friend’s behaviour and to blame them. For example, “They don’t care about me…I always reached out to them but got nothing in return”.

 After all, we are hurting and when we are hurting our emotions take over and our logic tends to go astray. Also, as human beings we do not like to be ‘in the wrong.’ Placing blame on ourselves causes unpleasant feelings and thoughts to arise and so how do we prevent that from happening? – We place blame on others to avoid such unpleasant thoughts and feelings about ourselves.

 It might be that the other person has been at fault, but at the end of the day, like any relationship, a friendship relies on the interaction of more than one person. Therefore, it is important to evaluate your role in the friendship too.

 There are a number of qualities that contribute to a positive, healthy, and lasting friendship. Such qualities include (but are not limited to):

  • Non-judgmental
  • Good at listening
  • Empathic
  • Respectful
  • Accepting
  • Supportive
  • Dependable
  • Trustworthy
  • Fun

 Take some time to think about how many of these qualities you possess and whether or not you have displayed these qualities in past friendships, and whether or not you are displaying these qualities in your friendships now?

 Whilst of course it is important that your friend presents with such qualities themselves, again remember that a friendship relies on the interaction of more than just one person.

 To make a positive friendship and to assist in maintaining a positive friendship start at practicing non-judgement. That is, be mindful to not judge your friend’s feelings, opinions, and behaviours. Through practicing non-judgement, your mind and your ears will be open, and you will be able to listen to your friend empathetically. With this you will further demonstrate respect and acceptance of your friend’s feelings and opinions. From this you will demonstrate to your friend that you are supportive and are someone who is trustworthy and dependable in terms of your empathetic listening skills.

And then, you create your own fun! But be mindful of keeping a balance between activities that spark your interest and those that spark your friend’s interest.

 Positive friendships are key to maintaining positive wellbeing no matter what age you are. Basically, a positive friendship should feel a little something like this…

“Friendship is like peeing your pants. Everyone can see it but only you can feel the warmth.” ☺

 By Kaelan Jones

Psychologist

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