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Wednesday, April 18, 2018


This post is sponsored. 
Anyone who knows me even a little knows that my friends are so important to me. I’ve been so lucky to have so many amazing meaningful friendships(some for a season and some for a lifetime). Friendship takes effort and meaningful friendships are worth the effort.

How to Build More Meaningful Friendships
By Christine H.

The rise of technology, and especially the mashup of tech and social interaction, has made an interesting dilemma in our modern relationships. Many professionals say that over-reliance on social media and tech-enabled communication like texting has made ours a socially-retarded generation.

Well, I think that’s pretty harsh. And I don’t really think it’s true. But at the same time, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s noticed that having 600 friends on Facebook isn’t the same as always having a friend ready to go out with you on a Friday night. Or perhaps more importantly, someone to call when you desperately need to talk something out. Our interconnected world can feel increasingly isolated. I think in some ways, the ease of contacting and overlapping with so many people at any given moment makes us forget to value the people we have close to us. For example, why invest in your existing romantic relationship when all it takes is a swipe on your smartphone to find 20 more likely candidates? Why work through a fight that you’ve had with a friend when there are so many other people that you could reach out to the next time that you need help with something? And why make yourself vulnerable to the person just down the hall when you could discuss what’s on your mind anonymously and maintain the perfect image that you’ve worked so hard to present to the world?

The art of friendship is nuanced and individual. However, the magic of human connection is not to be underplayed. In the end, it might be the most important thing that any of us have. And so, if you’re someone who’s tired of artificial and surface-level interactions, consider these ideas for deepening and building important relationships--especially friendships--in your life.

  • Do things together: Experiences bond us together, and when you get outside of your comfort zone, you learn more about yourself, and others than you ever would inside of the safe realm. Many of us wait around hoping to be invited to things, but it doesn’t occur to us that everyone else is doing the exact same thing. Take it on yourself to be the one to plan and coordinate events. Subscribe to and ask about events in your community and at your favorite venues. Set up excursions to interesting places. In fact, why not put together a weekend road trip like one of these?
  • Spend one-on-one talking time: Group friends aren’t the same as individual friends. For example, there might be someone that you consider a good friend because you see them a lot at group outings. However, when you find that you’re alone together, you don’t really have much to say. I think this is one of the most common reasons that we lose touch with others. Friend groups are always changing--people move away, marry or divorce, have children, or get busy with other interests. If you don’t have individual connections with people when the group evolves, you might find yourself feeling pretty lonely. Instead, seek to establish personal connections with those that you come in contact with. Learn more about them individually, and learn about what you have in common. Embrace opportunities to talk one-on-one. And when you do talk…

  • Be honest, and make yourself vulnerable: Far too often, we put on a personality that we think people want to see. However, an honest connection can never happen until we’re willing to show who we really are, warts and all. Share things about yourself that signal to the other person that it’s safe for them to also share vulnerabilities. It can be scary to really be seen by someone else, but that’s also what makes a good friendship worthwhile. These moments when we’re able to admit that we need help are what make the difference between a casual acquaintance and an actual friend group that can act as a support group, whatever we’re going through.
  • Match emotional and time investment: Many of us feel short changed when we end up in relationships where the attachment seems to be one-sided. It can be exhausting when we feel like we’re putting in all the effort ourselves. Building a friendship is a process, and it happens in small increments along the way. Be generous, but remember not to demand more from someone than they’re ready to give.

  • Recognize and appreciate different people’s contributions: Good friends are not going to be good at all the same things that you are. They’re not going to always value the same things, or make the same choices that you would. However, it takes all types to make a world. The whole point of friendship is to meet each other in both our weaknesses and strengths. Often, the best friendships are ones that teach us balance. Friends are able to share strengths that you need in your life, and you’re able to contribute with your own strengths that they don’t have.
  • Learn to say I’m sorry: Disagreements, and moments when we hurt each other, are unavoidable in a close relationship. I think that we’re missing out on the best parts of interpersonal relationships when we don’t learn how to weather those difficult times and see things through anyway. “I’m sorry” doesn’t always mean “I’m wrong and you’re right.” No relationship should rely on two people always seeing exactly eye to eye. Rather, “I’m sorry” can often mean “This relationship is more important to me than my pride.”
  • Don’t underestimate old friends: Our lives are always changing, and so our relationships will as well. Sometimes, we grow distant from people who used to seem essential for our very survival. I don’t think that it’s always a bad thing. For example, after you got married, your tightness with your group of girlfriends probably evolved, since your spouse was now the person that you brought the ups and downs of your life to. That being said, it’s important to know the value of an old friend; a person who knew you as you were, saw you through challenges and changes. When you get the chance to reconnect, and when you recognize that you need to reclaim that part of your life, be open to rebuilding those channels as needed.

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