A very, very wise man once told me that if at the end of your life you could count your REAL friends on one hand, that you had lived a truly blessed life. That’s an idea that has stuck with me throughout my entire life. I’ve gone through periods of times when I had dozens of friends around me and periods of time when I had none. As much as we might not want to admit it, friends can be a fleeting, flaky, temporary aspect of our lives. That is why it is important to me to keep the good ones around and make the best new friends that I can. Not all friends are created equally, so when it comes to making connections with new people – the key is quality, not quantity. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when making new friends that will result in making quality friendships worth keeping around:
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Ask More Questions
We’ve all heard the saying about having two ears and one mouth for a reason. When it comes to determining compatibility with another human being, what better way than letting them express their thoughts, opinion, likes, dislikes, and other aspects of their personality? Ask people questions about things that are important to you, instead of just shoving your opinions in their face and expecting the to accept them. You’ll find that some of the best friends you can have are the people that have a good balance of similar and differing opinions from yours. The “yin and yang” principle makes sense for a reason.
Know When to Keep your Mouth Shut
The very last thing that you’ll find in a good, healthy friendship is judgement. There are going to be times in friendships where you just want to grab the other person by the shirt collar and shake some sense into them. Unfortunately, that is about the least constructive way to get your point across that there is. Friendships should be about support above all else. Yes, there are times that you friend needs to know exactly what you think about something, and they key is knowing when those moments are. A happy medium exists between being supportive and being “preachy”.
Look for Friends in New Places
Some of the greatest friends I have in my life are people I would have never met in my normal day-to-day existence. With the advent of technology and connectivity, we have the opportunity to meet and interact with people from all walks of life, cultures, countries, and situations. There is a stigma associated with online friends that I honestly don’t understand. We don’t live in a world where communicating and connecting with people is confined to geographical limitations. People seem to think that finding people online is limited to dating, and it’s not. There are online communities full of like-minded people that connect on a level that can even surpass your current social activities. For instance, if you are an artist, find an online community of artists that you can share and collaborate with.
One thing that quality friendships require is effort. In fact, effort is the key to all things in life, but that is a blog for a different time. You’ll get out of a good friendship what you’ll put into it. That principle works both ways: if you’re putting more into a friendship than the other person is – that is not a quality friendship. That being said, remember that quality friendships are also not always a “quid pro quo” situation. Sometimes one person in the friendship needs more than the other. Sometimes neither person needs anything.
Above all Else, Be Yourself
The real key to quality friendships, or any relationship for that matter, is to be yourself. You can’t build friendships on a false foundation of who you are because eventually that facade will crumble. This doesn’t even just including flat-out lying to people, either. This includes things like stretching your boundaries or shifting your moral compass even a few degrees. If you want to make real, quality friends – you’ve got to be unflinchingly, unequivocably, unchangingly yourself, and nothing else.