15 Tips to Become Closer to Friends on International Day of Friendship
9 minute read
Even people with lots of friends, loving family members, and a strong social circle often find themselves feeling lonely from time to time.
This can seem a bit confusing on the surface. Why would someone who seemingly have a strong network of people supporting them report feeling lonely?
Well, the root of this issue resides in the fact that knowing someone and being close to them are two entirely different things. Simply knowing a large number of people won’t help you feel any less lonely.
It’s more important to forge strong individual bonds with the people you truly care about.
The International Day of Friendship is soon to be upon us. Depending on your country, this day is either celebrated on July 30, or the first Sunday in August.
In the spirit of International Friendship Day, and to help you conquer those occasional feelings of loneliness, here are 15 ways you can become closer to your friends.
| Related: Harvard Study Finds Key to a Happy Life |
Just keep these simple tips in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to strengthening friendships with those for whom you care most.
1. No Judgment
One of the most important aspects of being a good friend is the ability to accept your friend for who they are. Just because they don’t agree with something you said, or they prefer to live their life in a different way than you, it’s important not to judge.
It’s not uncommon to have major disagreements among even the best of friends, so keep an open mind.
2. Pay Attention to Their Likes and Dislikes
This one sounds easy, but it can be tough in practice. You certainly don’t have to cater to your friends’ every whim, but if you continually suggest an activity your friend doesn’t like, or can’t remember what they’re passionate about, it will impair your ability to connect with them.
| Related: 3 Habits to Train Your Brain to Stop Worrying |
3. Remember Their Family or Significant Other
When you start to really get close with someone, they will often share details about their family or loved ones. Pay attention to these details.
The simple act of remembering the name of your friend’s significant other can go a long way towards proving you really care about them and their life outside your friendship.
4. Don’t Flake
We’re all guilty of this one, but keep it to a minimum. If you say you’re going to be somewhere, be there!
| Related: Buddhist Master Reveals 21 Rules of Life |
No one likes waiting around for a friend who’s always late. If you don’t reliably show up when you say you will, it won’t take long before you stop getting invited.
5. Keep Secrets “in the Vault”
Close friends often tell each other things in confidence. Sharing sensitive information can certainly strengthen the bond between friends, but this bond can be broken quickly if you start spreading gossip you were supposed to keep to yourself.
6. Ask About Them. Don’t Just Talk About Yourself
Conversing with a friend can be very enjoyable, but not when they only want to talk about themselves. Strike a balance with your friend.
| Related: Stephen Hawking’s Advice for Depression Sufferers |
It’s fine to talk about your own accomplishments or concerns, but make sure you leave room in the conversation to ask your friend about their life.
7. Open Up
Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and opinions with your friends. If they’re doing their part, they won’t judge you, and the frank sharing of thoughts and ideas can lead to some pleasant discussions.
8. Be Honest
This might be the most important rule of the bunch. Nothing erodes a friendship quicker than lying.
It may seem easier in some moments to tell a quick lie to a friend about why you can’t make a certain event, or why you dropped the ball on an obligation. But the best course of action is to take the high road and just be honest.
Even if it leads to a little awkwardness in the present, your friendship will be better for it in the future.
9. Share Stories
Storytelling is one of the oldest human traditions, and there’s a reason for that! Sharing a good story is a great way to make new friends, as well as strengthen your connection with old ones.
| Related: The Weird Reasons for Brain Freeze, Hiccups, and More |
A great story will live on in your friend group for years, so don’t be afraid to share.
10. Don’t Hide Your Negative Emotions
It’s easy to tell your friends when good things happen in your life–promotions, a new romance, a great vacation. But in a really strong friendship, it can be even more beneficial to share negative emotions.
Venting about what makes you angry or upset to a trusted friend will not only make you feel better, it will bolster the bond between the two of you.
11. Be Willing to Hear Their Troubles
Now, the above point goes both ways. Just as it’s important to share your struggles with friends, it’s equally important for you to be receptive of theirs.
Listen attentively and offer sincere advice. Even if there’s not much you can do to help, simply listening to your friend will often be more beneficial than you might think.
12. Be Aware
Sometimes we have a tendency to put ourselves first, and that can be okay at times, but not necessarily when you’re with friends. Be aware of how your friend is acting, what mood they might be in, and whether or not they seem stressed.
Staying in tune with your friends’ attitudes will go a long way.
13. Forgive Often
Everyone makes mistakes. And even the best of friends fight or have disputes occasionally. Don’t fall into the temptation of holding a grudge. It’s not good for anyone.
Instead, be willing to offer forgiveness to your friends. You never know when you might be asking them for forgiveness in return.
14. No Ghosting
Stay in contact! Not replying to messages or phone calls is fine every now and then, but don’t make it a habit. Nobody likes being friends with a ghost.
15. Maintain Your Own Space
As you strengthen your friendships with close pals, be wary of spending too much time together. There is a healthy middle ground, and you don’t want to suffocate your friend by hanging around all the time.
Don’t be afraid to tell your friends when you need a day to yourself.
The Bottom Line
Becoming closer to your friends isn’t difficult, but it does require some effort on your part. However, if you follow these 15 steps, or at least keep some of them in mind, you’ll find that forging strong friendships is natural and healthy.
Almost everything is better with friends, so grab a few buds this International Day of Friendship and make sure to celebrate!