Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca once said, “One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” Contemporary scientists tend to agree. Current studies researching friendships indicate that our close friendships may be our key to happiness.
We thrive when we have close, long-term relationships, have friends to confide in and to give and get support from. Having close friends has also been shown to lengthen life span, boost our immunity and decrease risk of depression. But for some, making and maintaining friendships can be challenging. Below are tips to help form lasting friendships.
- Say yes to seeing friends. Being social is not easy for everyone, but it’s necessary for making new friends and for maintaining established relationships. A big part of any relationship is showing up and being present.
- Cultivate compassion. Sharing our joys and sorrows with those close to us binds us together. Experiencing the ups and downs of life with our close friends adds meaning to our lives and gives us a deeper understanding of ourselves.
- Join a group. Whether it’s volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about or joining a group you’re interested in, being a part of a group where you have common interests is a natural way to make friends. Plus, it creates feelings of belonging.
- Schedule in-person plans. Social media is a great way for staying in touch, but it’s important to keep in mind that nothing can ever replace the emotional and physical benefits of seeing close friends in person.