An in depth look at close friendships
By Vic LeBouthillier
Not all of your friendships will be close friendships. This is OK. Having the majority of your “friends” being general friends and casual acquaintances is absolutely normal. Still, you really should have, or should work toward having, at least one or more close friendships, as they are essential to your mental health and your ability to accomplish important life goals.
We’re all different, and just as we are different, so too are each of our friendships.
The following list reflects behaviors that are characteristic of close friendships:
- You regularly try to initiate activities with the other person, even when the other person has not been as proactive in pursuing you.
- You listen and understand one another in a way that makes the other person feel understood.
- You are free to be your authentic self instead of your fabricated self.
- You set boundaries and know when to ask for things that are important to you.
- You share a desire to creatively and intuitively serve and perform random acts of kindness for one another.
- You like to play and laugh with each other on a regular basis.
- You strive to find similar values, yet you can both accept values that are different.
- You accept each other’s shortcomings without judgement.
- You can read each other’s emotional state and extend empathy, compassion, and support.
- When you identify a blind spot that is hurting the other person, you have the courage to gently help them gain awareness and change their behavior.
- You embrace humility and ask for forgiveness when your actions are hurtful.
- You forgive when an apology is offered.
- You never lose sight of one another’s potential and express it through validating statements that build each other up.
- You accept the fact that you will get hurt by the other person and are ready to repair any fractures.
Finding and maintaining a close friendship is a goal that offers incalculable benefits for your physical and mental health. The added bonus provided by such friendships is that they can help you achieve your life goals and enrich your life. As with all good things, this requires an investment of time.
Stay connected to find out why close friendships can be so challenging for some people, and to see if you might, in fact, be one of these people.