Building and maintaining friendships is an important part of life. Having a strong network of friends can provide support, companionship, and a sense of belonging.
However, forming genuine, lasting friendships can be difficult, especially as we get older. And in today’s fast-paced world, we may find ourselves surrounded by people yet still feeling lonely.
Not to worry, building lasting friendships is not impossible! With the right approach and mindset, you can create meaningful connections that will enrich your life. Today we’re sharing some tips on how to form real, genuine friendships that last. But first, let’s take a look at why genuine friendships are in fact important.
Why friendships are important
Having strong friendships can have a significant positive impact on our overall well-being. They provide both emotional and practical support, helping us navigate life’s challenges. Prioritizing friendships can lead to improved mental and physical health, making us happier and healthier individuals.¹ Friendships can make us feel less lonely.
People with strong social support tend to have better physical and mental health. Research shows that individuals with strong friendships tend to have higher self-esteem and better psychosocial adjustment. Those who have lifetime friendships tend to be better adjusted than those without. Additionally, people who report having positive and satisfying friendships experience less anxiety and hostility.²
How to make connections?
Making real connections can be daunting, especially as we get older and our social circles become more established. However, it’s never too late to expand your network and form genuine connections with others. Here are five tips to help you on your journey to making new friends:
Be open to new opportunities.
Whether taking a class, joining a club, or volunteering, these activities provide a great opportunity to meet like-minded individuals. Keep an open mind, and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Try new things together and be open to your friend’s interests. It can be a great way to bond and create lasting memories.
Show genuine interest in others.
People are more likely to open up to someone who is genuinely interested in getting to know them. Ask questions, listen actively, and try to remember small details about their lives. People appreciate it when you take the time to get to know them.
It’s important to be authentic when making new friends — in other words, be yourself. People can sense when you’re not being genuine, and they won’t be as likely to trust or connect with you. Be open and honest about who you are and what you’re looking for in a friend. Authenticity is attractive, and people will be more likely to connect with you if you’re true to yourself.
Don’t be afraid of rejection.
It’s important to remember that rejection is a natural part of life and not a reflection of our own worth. Taking the risk to initiate a conversation or invite someone to hang out can lead to valuable and meaningful friendships.
Putting yourself out there and making an effort to connect with others can also increase your chances of meeting people with similar interests and values. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there; you never know what connections you may make.
Making real friends takes time, and it’s important to be patient in the process. Don’t expect to form a deep connection with someone overnight.
How to form lasting friendships?
When it comes to forming friendships, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of meeting new people and making connections. However, making those connections last can be a bit more challenging. Here are five tips to help you build lasting friendships:
Don’t just wait for friendships to happen; actively seek out people you want to get to know. Find common interests and make plans to do things together. Setting clear boundaries and communicating openly and honestly with your friends can help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts from arising.
By being intentional and mindful in your interactions with others, you can build strong, lasting friendships that will bring joy and support to your life.
It’s important to communicate your needs, wants, and concerns with your friends to build trust and understanding in the relationship. Regularly checking in with your friends, whether through text, phone calls, or in-person conversations, can also help keep the lines of communication open and ensure that you’re both on the same page.
Friendships are built on trust and mutual support. Be there for your friends when they need you, and — this is important — don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Allowing others to help you is a bonding experience!
Shared experiences, such as going through similar life stages like getting married, having children, attending college or graduate school, or starting a new career, can strengthen friendships by providing opportunities for mutual support and understanding.³
Friendships are not perfect, and conflicts will happen. Learn to forgive and move on. It’s natural to get upset or hold grudges when friends make mistakes, but it’s important to remember that everyone is human and makes mistakes. Being able to forgive and move on from small conflicts allows for deeper understanding and trust in the relationship.
Building a lasting friendship takes more than just being physically present. It’s about being mentally and emotionally present for your friends, showing interest, offering support, and being there for them through the good and bad times. This means actively choosing to focus on your friends and putting aside distractions, which helps to strengthen the connection and bond between you. ³
Now You Know How to Build Real, Lasting Friendships and Develop Connections
Forming real and genuine friendships that last takes effort and commitment. It’s important to be open to new experiences and to put yourself out there to meet new people. Look for shared interests, be vulnerable and authentic, and invest time and energy into building and maintaining friendships.
Friendships are worth this effort because of the support and companionship they bring. By being intentional, reliable, communicative, supportive, willing to compromise, open to new experiences, honest, forgiving, and respectful, you’ll be on your way to forming lasting friendships.
Additionally, it’s important to be aware of red flags in friendships and set boundaries to ensure the friendship is healthy and fulfilling for both parties. Friendships go through ups and downs, but with open communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to be there for each other, you can build friendships that will last a lifetime.
Remember to be present and actively participate in your friendships. This means taking the time to listen, showing interest in others, and being there for them when they need it. Friendships require effort, but with a little effort, you can form real, genuine friendships that will bring joy and fulfillment to your life. Make the effort today, and you’ll be on your way to building friendships that will last a lifetime.