• Emma Eggleston

The Five Keys to Building a Strong Friendship

Updated: May 14

"It's not that diamonds are a girl's best friend but it's your best friends who are your diamonds." -Gina Barreca

Many girls (and guys) believe that they don't really need friends. They think that they can make it on their own. As easy as it is to believe that, it's simply not true. Human beings are social creatures by nature. When we neglect to nurture our friendships, our mental and emotional well-being suffers. Even the most introverted of girls need the support of a few loyal friends from time to time.

The difficult thing about friendship is that it's give and take. Friendships work best when both friends listen to, encourage, and support one another. If you want to build stronger friendships, you need to do the things you would want a friend to do for you. The good news? It doesn't cost anything to be a good friend. Here are the five keys to building a strong friendship.

1. Listen

At one point or another, a friend will come to you excited, upset, or angry. Your first instinct might be to start giving them advice. Although it's not a bad thing to give advice, sometimes people simply want someone to hear their story. A good listener is someone who doesn't interrupt and gives the other person their full attention. That means you shouldn't be checking your phone when someone is talking to you. To show someone that you are listening make eye contact and confirm what they say.

2. Use Encouraging Words

The old adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," is simply untrue. Words are powerful. The way we talk to our friends and what we say has a huge impact on their self-esteem. Make it a habit to compliment your friends and not only on their clothes or hair. If you like something about their personality, tell them. Congratulate your friends when they do something well and when they're feeling down remind them of how awesome they are.

3. Check-In & Reach Out

If you haven't seen a friend in a while you can make their day by sending them a quick text to tell them you are thinking about them. A great time to do this is over the holidays. Additionally, college and high school students are very appreciative of a 'good luck' or 'U got this' text over final exams. Maybe even add a funny GIF to make them smile.

4. Spend Time Together

The easiest way to grow a friendship is by spending time together. While you don't have to spend every minute of every day together you should be intentional about making time to spend with your friends. Set up a monthly game night, take a dance class together, or plan a sleepover. Don't be afraid to take the initiative to set things up.

5. Have Conversations

In order to become friends with someone you have to get to know them and the only way to do this (without being a stalker) is by talking to each other. Ask questions to find out more about your friends. Find out what career they want to have, learn about their family, and discover what of things they like to do for fun.

Our society spends a lot of time talking about romantic relationships and sometimes we forget that friendships are just as important. Having a support system of good friends will make it easier for you to overcome the challenges life throws at you. Use these keys to strengthen and build friendships today.

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