Having a good friend and being a good friend can enrich our days and bring us lifelong satisfaction. Friendships however, do not just happen. Building lasting friendships takes time and effort. Many of us say, “I’d like to have more friends. I just don’t have the time”. Yet, we all have time for other things we really want to do. What makes someone a good friend? Here are some ways for building lasting friendships.
1. Note the little things
A good friend is someone who stands by us during difficult times. Simple little acts of caring keep friendships going: the birthday card, the greetings card to ask “How are you?” or to wish “Good luck in your examinations”. Such thoughtful acts help strengthen friendships.
2. Share our feelings
Many people do not like telling friends their deepest feelings. They are also afraid to express their fears and disappointments. They think that if their friends know their weaknesses, they will not be liked. But this is not true. Good friends will support us and accept us for what we are.
3. Do not keep score
Very often people start keeping score on the duties of friendship: who was the last one to write or phone? A French writer, Alexander Dumas says that the art of friendship is ‘forgetting what one gives, and remembering what one receives.’ In other words, when we forget about what we may get in return compared with what we give, we will make more friends.
4. Let our friends be generous
It may be better to give than to receive. Just as we feel happy to help a friend, give him a chance to help us. Do not be too proud to accept a friend’s kindness or offer of help.
5. Laugh with our friends
A Doctor and Writer, Sir William Osler, called laughter “the music of life”. It is laughter that can brighten a friend’s day and bring good friends closer. Laughter can also help release tension. One day, Dr. Bernie S. Siegel, the author of the book “Peace, Love and Healing” received a call from a friend who said, “I have nothing to live for. I just called to say goodbye because I’m going to commit suicide.” Siegel quickly answered, “If you do, I’ll never speak to you again.” The friend was shocked. Then, he started to laugh instead of shooting himself, he decided to go and see Siegel for a chat. Friends can demand a lot from us but it is worthwhile helping them. Robert Louis Stevenson was right when he said, “A friend is a present you give yourself.”