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Recently, my ex-husband and dear friend was recovering from an intense medical procedure at my home. During this same time, I was dealing with some challenging health issues of my own. We needed both physical help and emotional support, as these conditions seemed like an unusual pile on. We were so blessed to receive this support from others.

As we moved through this difficult time, I began to think about friendship and how important this is in our lives. Friendship comes in many disguises. There’s old and new friends, friendship within an intimate relationship, family members who are also friends, co-workers and neighbors, and acquaintances who temporarily fill this role. Friends can be any age, sex, or come from any background. I began to investigate what spiritual teachers and relationship therapists have written over the years about creating and maintaining friendships. Below is some helpful guidance, that I found from my investigations. I hope these tips will enhance your friendships, making them more fulfilling.

  1. It’s helpful to come into a friendship with an attitude that says, “You can count on me, no matter what.” Remember, how you treat a friend reflects how you value a friend.
  2. Spending time with these important people is essential. If we don’t make time for these relationships, they can’t be cultivated and made strong. They can fall apart, when we need them most. Too often busy lives and commitments take precedent. Make a space for your friendships.
  3. Be available to listen to your friends and share yourself with them. A good friend can also be a strong phone buddy. Often getting together physically may be challenging. Texting and e-mailing can feel cold and remote. These venues are great for brief connections, but do create the opportunity for deeper interactions by phone.
  4. Be willing to laugh and cry with those closest to you. Be willing to go through trials with them, and to become an available part of your friend’s needed support system.
  5. hank your friends for their devotion and kindnesses. Don’t take anyone for granted. Let others know you value their love and support. Be thoughtful and considerate. Help lift your friends up, when they’re down.
  6. Remember, that no one is perfect, not your friends and not you. So, try to have loving friendships. The power of forgiveness is healing for both you and another. It helps create healthier and more lasting relationships.
  7. Admit when you are wrong. Watch out for constantly defending yourself with others. Explanations are often required when there’s a misunderstanding, and these can smooth out rocky roads. It may be helpful to ask a friend, “what can I do to help restore or re-build this friendship?” No one is recommending that you stay in a relationship that is unhealthy for you. Some relationships are nothing more than energy drainers. Always be kind and loving to yourself in and through all your friendships!

Hopefully, these pointers will bring you richer and more successful relationships, more joy, and peace in your life.