Maintaining Healthy Friendships May 16, 2022 – Posted in: Blog, Friendship, Kindness

Growing up my family moved a lot between countries. This pattern of adventure meant my siblings and I were regularly moving and starting new schools where we would have to establish new friendships. Some key learnings that I picked up during this period of my life to help maintain strong and healthy friendships, consist of a combination of the below five points:

  • Freedom – allow one-another to make other friends. Neither of you should feel guilty for meeting new people and making other friendships, this is only natural as you get older and adopt new interests and experiences. Spending time apart is healthy and invites new and exciting conversation for when you both catch-up again.
  • Honesty – make sure you are honest with your friends. Being honest about how you are feeling, for instance if you feel hurt about something your friend has done or said, then let them know this and work it out between you. It can be challenging to be honest, but by being vulnerable with your friends it also encourages them to do so with you and builds on the friendship bonds.
  • Balance – it is important to maintain an equal give and take balance in friendships. Monitor how much energy, emotion and time you invest into the friendship – is it one-sided? Are you happy with the level of attention you are giving your friendship or do you think you could put more effort into organising catch-ups? Or do you think your friend could participate more? You might want to reflect on whether the friendship is worth distancing yourself from or putting less energy into if things don’t change after a while. Remember this is not necessarily a bad thing, as we get older our interests change and differing lifestyles mean it is not feasible to keep the same level of friendship with them as you did when you were younger.
  • Individuality – If you accept that it is ok to be different and have different interests to your friends then you will feel more confident in yourself and it will empower your friends to also embrace their individuality. We all have our own odd quirks and interests, it’s ok if you don’t share your friends passion of knitting miniature dolls or rock music, you can support their passions in other ways by asking about it but you shouldn’t feel guilty about not participating in it also. Instead, you can support one-another in pursuing your own interests even if they are not together!
  • Kindness – it is so important to be kind to one-another! Something as simple as little check-ins are great ways to do this; like a text message of how they are doing? What they have been up to? Compliment’s are also great ways of showing kindness to your friends. I am a strong believer in letting people know if their hair is looking extra shiny, or acknowledging their amazing shoes. A little compliment will go along way in uplifting people and putting a smile on their faces.

By Jasmine McCullin