Forget Relationships — Here’s What It Takes To Maintain Long-Term Friendships

We all focus on how to make our romantic relationships last, but what about our friendships? Solid friendships are just as valuable as relationships, so we should work equally as hard on them. Here are some tips for maintaining lasting platonic connections, because it’s definitely not easy sometimes.

You must respect each other’s differences and opinions.

Every person views things differently, so you’re never going to agree with your friend 100% of the time. If you can respect each other regardless, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to maintain a healthy friendship.

You have to be able to forgive.

You’re going to have problems once in a while, it’s inevitable, especially if you’ve been friends with someone for a long time. You have to be able to compromise and find a way to move past fights if you want the friendship to last. Unless the friendship is abusive, put aside your ego and get over the little things.

You have to be willing to apologize.

If your friend gets mad at you, you should be able to admit when you’re wrong and say you’re sorry. If not, it could cause resentment. Tension will build up and will eventually explode, making it more difficult for your friendship to recover.

You have to show appreciation.

If your friend takes care of you when you’ve had too much to drink or helps you move when no one else will, then show them you’re thankful. Even if they’re just there for you to talk to, tell them you appreciate having their friendship. Showing friends that you value them is everything. If you take them for granted and don’t nurture your friendships, you can easily lose them.

You have to actually put in some effort.

Other things in life may take priority, for example, your family or your job, but you should always make time for your friends too. And in return, your friends should do the same for you. Friendships should be 50/50 at least most of the time. There’s nothing worse than a one-sided friendship. It could cause the person giving the most effort to eventually give up trying so hard.

You need to support friends in tough times.

This may be obvious, but it means being there for your friends no matter what they’re going through, even if you’re just a shoulder to lean on or a person to vent to. You’re not a good friend if you’re only there when it’s convenient for you. Friends should be able to depend on each other.

You should also be there to celebrate with friends during good times.

As hard as the tough times may be, you should also be there for the happy occasions. Be there for your friends when they graduate, receive job promotions, get married, have babies, and everything in between. You don’t have to be there for everything, but if you know something is important to your friend, try your best to show them that you’re happy for them too. Otherwise, they’ll think you don’t care and won’t want to stay friends with you.

You have to communicate well.

Just like in a romantic relationship, you need to be able to have open communication with your friends so you are on the same page. It’ll maintain your connection and help you understand each other. Talk about your feelings, frustrations, and everything else and you’ll have a solid foundation that will last a long time.

You have to understand that life may get in the way sometimes.

You may not hang out as much as you used to because your lives have taken different paths, or you’ve moved far away from each other, but that doesn’t mean that when you do have a chance to talk or hang out that it doesn’t mean as much. If you both can be understanding about this and can pick up right where you leave off when you do see each other, you’ll be able to stay friends for the long haul.

You have to be loyal.

If your friend tells you a secret, you have to be trustworthy and keep your word. You should also defend your friends and not talk behind their backs. If you have an issue, tell it to your friend’s face. Trust that you’ll be there for each other and won’t turn on one another.

You can’t be judgmental.

If your friend makes questionable life choices (like dates someone who you don’t think is good enough), don’t tell your friend they’re wrong or stupid because it’s not what you would’ve done. Just be there to support them and guide them. Accept the person for who they are no matter what.

You shouldn’t be too selfish.

This is probably the most important one. You need to make your own life a priority obviously, but it can’t always be about you in your friendships. For example, don’t just talk about yourself or do the things you want to do when you’re together. Care about what’s going on in their lives and what the other person wants. Be a good listener. All you have to do is show that you’re invested in your friends’ lives and you’ll easily be able to have enduring friendships.

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