Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friendship is an important part of Life
Don't gossip - potential friends aren't going to trust you if you constantly gossip to them about the trials and tribulations of other people in your life.
Don't compromise yourself - each one of us has standards of morality and behaviour. Don't allow yourself to compromise yourself for the sake of 'fitting in' with a group.
Places to meet friends
Many people make friends at work. Open yourself up to the possibilities by participating in social occasions, such as Friday night drinks or lunches to celebrate employee birthdays.
Follow your interests. For example, if you like walking, join a neighbourhood walking group.
If you don't work and have no particular hobbies, consider joining a volunteer group with a charity that interests you.
Use your existing network of family and friends to meet new people.
Don't turn down party invitations.
When making friends is difficult
Some people find it difficult to make friends. Perhaps they are shy, or feel they lack the social skills to start a conversation. Suggestions include:
Join groups that share your common interests. Talking about one of your passions, such as gardening or writing short stories, for example, can help give you confidence to talk about other things with potential new friends.
Watch and learn from gregarious people who make friends easily.
Practise looking people in the eye when you talk to them.
Listen to what others are saying, rather than focusing on your own self-consciousness.
Look for anyone else in the room who seems socially awkward, and approach them for conversation.
When you talk to someone new, ask them questions about themselves or what they like to do; it's a good way to get started.
Social skills can be learned, so seek professional help if you feel you need it.
Appreciate your friends - don't take your friends for granted. Take the time to thank your friends for enhancing your life, in whichever way suits best - for example, inviting them over for dinner for no other reason than to have fun together.
Offer time and attention - friendships need to be nurtured. If you are consistently too busy to give time to your friends, they will one day move on without you. Ensure you make friendship an important priority. Actively listen to your friends, and show your interest and enthusiasm in their lives.
Be compassionate - people make mistakes. Sometimes, a friend may do something of which you don't approve. Put yourself in their shoes - would you want condemnation or forgiveness from those who are supposed to love and care for you?
Don't abuse trust - for example, if a friend tells you a secret, keep it to yourself. You might think you're building relationships with others by sharing gossip, but you're actually ensuring that others won't trust you enough to tell you anything. And if your friend finds out you abused their trust, your relationship with them is as good as over.
Control jealousy - you may want your best friend to be 'faithful' to you, which means you experience jealousy if they have other close relationships. Learn to appreciate that love for friends - like love for one's children - can be limitless.
Where to get help
Local councils (for information about local activities)
Local community centre or Neighbourhood House
Things to remember