How to Foster Healthy Friendships

We always hear about toxic friendships or #fakefriends, but what about the friendships that are here to stay?  Friendships are not something to take advantage of. Once you have a solid friendship it can last a lifetime and be the best relationship you have.  You’ll be able to thrive with each other and have those #goal worthy moments like facemasks and Netflix nights, midnight ice cream runs, or dance parties.  In college, a friendship can help to make you feel so supported, like you have a place to have fun, and not feel alone in the crazy experience that college is.  These friendships aren’t easy and aren’t ones you just come across, they take work, time, and a solid foundation. Once you find someone who you just “click” with, follow these steps you need to focus on in order to make this friendship healthy and last a lifetime.  

 

Make Sure It's Mutual

The friendship needs to be mutual.  It should never be one-sided with the friend neglecting the friendship.  When both people put effort into the friendship it feels great and reassuring knowing you both want this friendship and care for it.  Even when things get busy you both need to acknowledge it and just find one day or weekend you can spend with each other and reconnect.

 

Trust Each Other 

No relationship can happen if you don’t trust one another.  If there is no trust then you will not have a relationship with depth because you wouldn’t tell the other personal information for your relationship to grow.  This also can interfere with your communication with each other (number 5) with solving problems or being honest about things in your life or your feelings. 

 

Be Supportive

Don’t you want the type of friendship that you know someone has your back with your decisions, gives you reassurance, and will hold your hand when you're going through something?  In order to be supportive of one another, you need to have an open mind. You never know what will come up in your friendship like opinions, views, past experiences, or feelings, but it’s important to have an open mind to try to understand and then offer your support.  Showing support comes in many different ways and the easiest way to know is to talk to each other about how each person sees support and possibly even using love languages as a guide.

 

Put in Time & Effort

For a friendship to thrive time and effort need to be given.  You need to cater to your friends as you would with any other relationship, making sure you give each other time.  Schedule dates in a coffee shop, walking around the city, restaurant dates, or just a lazy night in with takeout and Netflix.  Make sure you both know you want this friendship and that your friend is worth your time and effort.  

 

Communicate

This is possibly the most important part of fostering a healthy friendship.  If there is no communication the friendship can not survive. You need to be able to use that trust with each other and communicate all feelings.  While you should communicate about any daily mundane things and your feelings, it’s most important to communicate any feelings or problems you have within the friendship.  If it’s a lifetime friendship you will have issues come up and you should never let them boil over or sit angrily within you for a long period of time. If you do that it will most likely just cause more problems.  Being confrontational with your friends can be scary, but you need to be able to have this open communication. Just be honest with each other and put all your feelings in the open so you can talk it through and come up with a solution to avoid this problem in the future.  If you’re able to have this open communication you will be able to feel secure that the other doesn’t talk bad behind your back or there is a problem you don’t know about because you will be able to just communicate and trust one another.

 

The last thought is to know the love language of your friend because if it’s quality of time then you need to up the time and effort, but if it’s words of affirmation then maybe spoken support needs to happen more.  Every friendship is different and has their own ways, but these five factors are helpful to begin navigating openness and depth to a friendship. All five factors work together and intertwine to help foster a healthy friendship.