BLOG: Five ways to keep your friendship strong

You’ve probably spent hours discussing the meaning of life, chuckled at the thought of your favourite pastimes, and shared details about yourself you never thought you would. And, while our friends may frustrate us at times, you’ve come to the conclusion that you couldn’t live without them.

Friendships are a great investment. But, as with any investment, they need to be nurtured in order to grow. Here are five ways you can help them stand the test of time:

How to keep your friends close

1. Make time for each other

As we grow more familiar with our friends, increased levels of comfort can lead to us becoming complacent. Although not intentional, we can forget to show our appreciation and take our friends for granted.

It’s important to stay social. If you can, make time on a regular basis to go out for coffee, have lunch or take a trip to the theatre. Take a break from life and do something you both find enjoyable. It’s these simple moments that strengthen your friendships and keep you bonded.

2. Stay honest

The strongest foundation of any friendship is being open and honest. It’s important to feel at ease in sharing your points of view with a friend, even if the subject matter is sensitive or makes you feel uncomfortable.

Our friends have the knack of asking questions that are difficult to answer, testing just how well we actually know them. The trick here isn’t to tell them what they want to hear, but to be open in your response, without hurting their feelings. In the end, your friends will appreciate your honesty as it will help them build trust with you and keep you more connected.

3. Don’t sit on an argument

As with any relationship, friendships are not always plain sailing. Disagreements and arguments are natural, and in some instances can be completely healthy. However, issues arise when a small disagreement turns into a larger conflict.

By nature, we are stubborn creatures, especially when it comes to arguments. But, to successfully manage conflicts with our friends, we need to learn to do so without judgement.  Following an argument, take the time to reflect on why it occurred. Forget about who is to blame and instead look at things from both perspectives.

Sharing these perspectives is often the key to solving an argument, allowing friends to see the bigger picture and understand a situation with more clarity. For the most part, our intention is never to hurt our friends, but while sorry may seem to be the hardest word, it’s a simple gesture that speaks volumes.

4. Come through when it counts

Sometimes, you don’t have to move mountains to keep a friendship going. Often it’s the little things that make a big difference. Life might be hectic and distance might challenge us, but there is something to be said for showing up when it matters.

Going out of your way to attend a milestone occasion such as a birthday, a retirement or birth of a new family member can make a huge impact in a friend’s life. Even if you can’t see your friend on a regular basis, making the effort when it counts will sustain your friendship for years to come.

5. Remember, people change

Part and parcel of being a friend is accepting our friends for who they are, warts and all. We become au fait with the way our friends think and behave and, as such, we expect them to stay that way. Well, unfortunately a leopard can change its spots – sometimes!

While we find comfort in predictability, as we go through life, parts of our personality are open to change and that’s the same with friends too.

If we can accept who are friends are, then we should also accept when parts of them change. In fact, we should embrace it. Variety is the spice of life, so if our friends challenge us and keep things interesting, it only makes life and our friendships stronger.

With the Oddfellows you’ll always have a friend in us

Life is not as fun alone, so share it with it friends. As one of the oldest friendly societies in the UK, the Oddfellows know a thing or two about making friends. Visit our benefits page to find five great reasons to become an Oddfellows member.