Good friends are what make the world a cheerful place and life a bearable journey. Friendship is a relationship that has no rules and obligations. Unlike relatives, you get to pick your own friends and it cannot get better than that. Friends define each other, and stick together through thick and thin. Research says that the majority of long-term friendships have lasted seven years on average, but I think we can do better. Best friends are forever, as long as you are ready for that kind of commitment. People move from one place to another, forget old friends, and make new acquaintances. However, true friends will overcome long distances, intense arguments, growing responsibilities, and mounting barriers.
Here are a few tips to keep your friends for life:
1. Be Frank and Develop a Bond
Friendship is free of formalities and the only requirement is to be yourself. Friends are supposed to know each other’s deepest darkest secrets, and there is no room for pretense. Best friends understand your mood without verbal communication and precisely guess the reason behind it. You must be a mind reader when it comes to what is going on in their head. Special friendships are all about communicating with body language and using code words that no one else can decipher. If you consider someone as a friend for life, speak your heart out to him or her, being honest with your opinions. Friends tell each other the truth, no matter how harsh it may sound. You must give them the right advice and help make decisions they will not regret. Share your weaknesses, strengths, good stories, bad stories, achievements, and failures.
2. Accept Each Other’s Differences
Every person is unique and surrounded by different circumstances. Even twins having identical DNA can have different interests and opinions. Best friends can be very much alike or complete opposites. No matter what the case, they make it work and cherish each other. If you want a friend who does everything your way and agrees to whatever you say, get a clone made. Time spent together would be so boring if you did not have different point of views and topics to discuss. If you two contradict, make peace instead of forcing your beliefs onto one another. Give each other space when needed, and regard each other’s values.
Friendship has no bounds, so difference of race, color, religion, culture, and social status means nothing. Do not feel embarrassed if your friend is unfashionable or acts weird in public. He/she genuinely cares for you and that is all what matters. Learn to love your friends for who they are; nobody is perfect after all. If someone tries to bully or mock your friend, act as the best defense attorney he/she could have, rather than pointing out flaws.
3. Keep in Touch (Stop making Excuses)
Friends often get undergo separation when going to college, taking a new job, or settling with a significant other. Distance must not affect the powerful relationship they have built over years. They might not be able to see each other in person that often, but will always have text messaging, audio/video calls, and social media to stay in touch. Studies, work and romantic relationships may keep you busy, but that does not mean that you forget about your buddies. You might not speak to each other for several days when responsibilities begin to multiply. Nonetheless, you can occasionally afford to squeeze in a couple of texts or a brief voice call. Whether you are conversing after a few weeks or a few months, it should be as if you talk every day.
Sometimes distance is not a problem, and we just become lazy, as we grow older. We are always tired and keep cancelling plans to go out with friends. Excuses will always be there and we will never miraculously escape our fatigue. We just have to make time and put some effort to be a part of their lives. Invite them to celebrate the milestones of your life and be there for them as a best man/ maid of honor, the Godparent of their child, or to mourn the loss of a loved one.
4. Be Dependable
Good friends always have each other’s back and they will never let you down. Be the person your friends can count on in every situation. You might need to lie for them sometimes or do something you absolutely hate, but they are certainly worth it. Be available if they need help moving and offer your couch if they need a place to crash. Bring them food or plan a movie marathon when they are sick or recovering from personal injuries. Help them with the assignment that has them stressed, and offer a ride when they need it. When your best friend is happy, celebrate with them; and when they are sad, cry with them, or at least lend your shoulder to cry on. Be there for him/her and you can expect them to return the favor when you are in their position.
5. Make Heartwarming Gestures
If your friends are important to you, you must express your gratitude every once in a while. You may throw a surprise party on their birthday, bring them their favorite kind of coffee to work, bake them cookies when they are down in the dumps, or just tell them that you love them. Let them know when you think of them and make them smile on a rainy day.