Friendship: 3 Surprising Tips for Finding True Connections

“Why do I and the people I love always pick people who treat us like we’re nothing?” – Perks of Being a Wallflower

We can have a lot of people who say hi to us as we head to school or work, people who text us often, people who live near us and like to hang out with us. However, everyone knows the difference between our acquaintances and true friends who will be there for us. Why do we make mistakes over and over, finding ourselves in toxic friendships? Why can’t we find close friends to actually bond with? Even though I am still young, I’ve learned a lot through my numerous relationships with classmates, friends, and other peers. These are tips I’ve discovered for finding your BFF and for pushing your relationship towards a good direction.

Know the kinds of people you can’t deal with. I don’t mean finding an excuse to hate on people or to judge strangers, but I believe that each person has a limit for another person’s behavior. For example, two types of people I’ve engaged with multiple times in the course of my life and have never come out of these relationships happy are: people who put on weak personas in order to use me and people who are arrogant. Now, this is not to say that I absolutely hate those people – I even have arrogant streaks or manipulative streaks inside me (as does the majority of human beings in this day and age). However, it is important to learn from experience and define what kinds of personality traits you cannot tolerate, ever. An arrogant person may also be extremely funny, or encouraging. I know that. But, if I try to get into a close friendship with someone who has very arrogant characteristics, and must engage with that arrogance on a daily bases, I personally will go nuts. Why, then, should I behave like a pig repeatedly hitting itself against a wall after making the same mistakes? Even though those people whom I can’t deal with all have stories and backgrounds of their own, there is a limit to how much an individual can sacrifice his/her own self-esteem by over-empathizing with others. Set a line and move forward.

That being said, also don’t cling onto one friendship, even if you think the other person is super cool. Moderation is surprisingly a big factor when you are trying to mold a beautiful friendship. Why? First, you must respect a friend’s privacy and need for personal space. Just because you feel comfortable with a friend doesn’t mean he/she owes you any secret information about ex-boyfriends or awkward failures – don’t pressure them to do so. I may seem nice to have a heart-to-heart, but forced opening-up may be detrimental to your friendship, no matter what kind of person your friend may be. Also, don’t expect your friend to spend all their free time with you – even the best of friendships cannot survive long if two people are glued together day and night. We all need time to be alone, even though many of us deny that. Give time for your friendship to breathe, or you may suffocate what you are trying to bring to life.

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Lastly, do work on yourself – by this I mean both your attitude towards your friends and your own ambitions. From every friendship, no matter if it is successful or a bit of a failure, you will find a lesson. That lesson can range from seeing the signs of a toxic relationship, or even just noticing that people react badly when you cling onto them. With a lot of experience, you will learn to balance caution and generosity, self-reflection and sharp perception. I also advocate honing your own ambitions because, when we are really invested in a relationship, the other dreams you have may fade away suddenly, until your friendship is all you have. That can be extremely dangerous if this friendship goes wrong – don’t ever put your own dreams and passions on the back burner. Besides, true friends will admire you for your drive.

Please leave any comments if you have personal tips to share, and don’t forget: you are your own best friend.

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