“Well they sure became fast friends.” Our neighbor gesturing to his two kiddos and our two girls where only a chain link fence separates them.
Anytime we go to the park and a kid shows kindness to Penny (including her in tag, letting her go down the slide first, saying “hi my name is…”) she instantly tells me she made a new friend and hopes they’re there the next time we come to the park.
We have multiple books on the subject of friends/friendship.
A lot of little kid tv shows focus around being a good friend.
So when and why do the fast friendships of childhood end?
What is the turning point where we start putting a criteria on people that we’re going to allow into our inner circle?
Why do we form cliques and start excluding humans who are just as desperate for love and friendly affection as we are?
We all have our stories or theories of when and why friendships became more complicated.
“Positive adult friendships were never modeled well for me.”
“I tried for years but I’ve been backstabbed/gossiped about/betrayed/left out/etc so I choose to distance myself.”
“I’m scared they won’t like the real me, so why bother.”
“I’m always the one to pour into them, no one pours into me. It’s time to focus on me.”
It boils down to two factors : laziness and fear.
Relationships take work and take stepping out of our comfort zones.
So how can I be a great friend?
Awesome question! I’m so glad you asked!
Here is a quick tip to get you started, people are primarily interested in themselves.
Our actions are dominated by self-thought and self-interest.
So ask questions like :
“How is your family?”
“Did you enjoy your vacation?”
“Any fun plans for the weekend/upcoming holiday/season/etc?”
Other ways to show interest in conversation:
Applaud and compliment them.
Use their name as often as possible.
Use “you” and “your.”
Admit when you’re wrong.
Look at the person who is talking.
Lean toward them.
Remember that a great friend is : loyal, understanding, trustworthy, sharing.
Someone who is genuinely happy for others when things go well and tries to cheer them up when things don’t go well.
Start with these basics.
Use these tips week to engage with anyone you’ve been hoping to start a new friendship with.
Grow well, friends!