7 Tips For Building Strong Friendships 3

“True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and choice.”

– Samuel Johnston

Building strong and lasting friendships is not a task that can be accomplished quickly.  Instead it is a lifelong project that will require frequent investments of time and energy.

Although they do require work, strong friendships are well worth it.  Through encouragement, correction, and help, true friends will propel each other to greater heights of manliness.

#1 Choose Wisely

Although a man can have many acquaintances, he can only have a few close friends.

A true friendship is a large responsibility. If a man overextends himself, he will be left with a large number of weak friendships instead of a few strong relationships.

Because you can only have a small number of friends, you must be very careful when choosing your friends.

Look for people who…

  • are striving toward the same goals as you.
  • hold your same basic religious beliefs.
  • are an example to you.
  • will help you grow.

Although your acquaintances and network contacts do not need to meet these strict requirements, your close companions should.

Your friends will either propel you up or pull you down. Choose them wisely!

#2 Listen Patiently

To be a true friend, you must be a good listener.

Always give your friend your full attention, and be an active listener.

If you are not able to drop everything and listen to them, be honest, tell them you are busy, and plan a time to sit down and talk.

Without listening, you will have no way of knowing what your friend thinks and your relationship will suffer.

#3 Respond Carefully

After listening to your friend, you need to be able to respond properly.

Depending on the situation, you may need to…

  • empathize.
  • sympathize.
  • counsel.
  • agree.
  • correct.

The ability to respond with tact and kindness is a skill that is perfected only through practice, but you can make a good start by simply acting naturally and unselfishly.

#4 Give Praise When Due

As in any relationship, your friendships can be strengthened through deserved praise.

Unfortunately, this is a part of friendship that is commonly over emphasized and rendered superficial.  False flattery will probably be recognized by your friend and your relationship will be weakened.

Be quick to give praise when it is earned and sincere, but shun any temptations to give artificial flattery.

#5 Correct When Necessary

Criticism, when respectfully given, is an important part of every strong relationship.

However, thoughtless condemnation can destroy even the most firm friendships.Choose your battles wisely and do not quibble over unnecessary issues.

When you do criticize, be respectful, calm, and considerate. As with any debate, be ready to end your discussion if it becomes an emotional argument.

Although it can be uncomfortable and difficult to correct your friend, it is a necessary part of a lasting friendship.

#6 Let Things Go

As selfish humans, it can be difficult to ignore a slight or a perceived slight.  In friendships, however, we must be ready to unselfishly forgive any insults from our friends.

If you feel unjustly hurt by your friend, try to resolve the issue through open communication.

If that does not work (perhaps your friend does not think he was wrong), be willing to forgive your friend.

You never know what pressures and difficulties your friend is struggling under. Perhaps he had a relative die, or he lost his job.

Whatever the reason, be careful to not destroy your friendship just because of one small incident.

#7 Invest Time

To build a strong relationship, you and your friend must both invest time.

If possible, try to get together occasionally for some project or event.

Perhaps you could…

  • work on a common hobby.
  • have lunch together.
  • go on a camping trip.
  • completing a project together.

If you live farther apart, your options are more limited.

However, you still can invest time by…

  • writing letters (and emails).
  • talking on the phone.
  • “chatting” on the internet (you can even use video chat).
  • occasionally visiting.

Although these time investments may seem like a frustrating waste of time, they are absolutely crucial to a truly lasting friendship.

Conclusion

Building strong friendships is not an easy task, but the benefits are well worth the effort.

What relationship building tips would you add?

3 thoughts on “7 Tips For Building Strong Friendships

  1. Reply bondChristian Apr 2,2010 2:59 PM

    Thanks for sharing this one. Last year, my perspective on friendships changed, and as a result I’ve consciously tried to become more of a friend to others. It’s been awesome.

    We’ve all heard that friends are the family we choose for ourselves, but I don’t think that’s accurate. I think friends are the family we can choose for ourselves… but most often, we let circumstances dictate our friendships instead of actively choosing to care about people. Friendship is a choice.

    Other than that, I don’t have much advice to share… just do it.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  2. Reply Nate Desmond Apr 2,2010 5:10 PM

    @ bondChristian – Excellent advice! As Proverbs 18:24 correctly states, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly…”

    Thank you for sharing such important truth!

  3. Reply Kevin Silvestri Apr 15,2011 12:12 PM

    Relationships are everywhere. We first begin a bond with our maternal mother and father (if we can be fortunate enough to have this). From there we grow up and go off to school, establishing relationships with our peers. Unfortunately true friendship is hard to find. I enjoy your quote from Samuel Johnston, Nate. It rings true for how relationships parallel to our lives. We find many acquaintances but few can be considered worthy of being a true friend. The greatest example we have for friendship can be found in the bible. John 15:13 proclaims, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” God wants for us to have a personal relationship with Him. In doing so we are to lay our life down. This is not to say we need to literally die, but to take the proverbial bullet to honor Him and the relationship. Likewise, we ought to do the same for our friends.
    Communication is the pinnacle of all relationships. And as mentioned above listening is vital. Listening weighs heavier in the communication process than speaking. As such we need to maintain our friendships by listening to them. You will gain a better knowledge of who they are and in return will be able to better defend them when the situation(s) arises. This “defending” your friends is that proverbial bullet to take in order to have friends.
    This is a great article that gives us concise points that are indicative to legitimate friendships. Thank you Nate!

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