Friendship is not just a matter of shared feelings. In order for it to last and flourish, we must take care of it. Here are eight little tips with powerful effects that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Friendship is a pillar of development. Positive psychology sees it as an essential element for a balanced and satisfying life. Friendship ties are often those that endure beyond hardship. Some reinforce them. The one that united Marceline Loridan-Ivens and Simone Veil had started at Auschwitz. Yet, as in love, they need to be fed. Simply because this feeling, in order to grow and consolidate, must provide everyone with the certainty of “counting” for the other. Overview of good attentions between friends.
Being friends from afar can work, but it’s not won. The bonds are reinforced by the presence, the physical proximity. Making the commitment to see each other regularly maintains the bond and sends the friend the indirect message that he or she is of value to us. Stéphane Clerget, psychiatrist and co-author of How to have real friends? (Albin Michel), advises us to spend as much time as possible together. “Let’s do like the children who like to be with their boyfriend. Yet too often we rely on technologies, SMS, telephone, social networks. But this is not enough. ”Unless of course an ocean separates us… Let us also let ourselves go to our spontaneous movements. Saying “I want to see you” is a lovely and moving message. Who can resist it? Let’s arrange one friendship meeting a week, one-on-one. For an hour or an afternoon.
(Re) give them priority
It works well with proximity. How many times do we think of our friends while rejecting the urge to call or meet because we have so many more important, more “urgent” things to do? If the friend calls, don’t put them on the “waiting list”. Let’s make it a priority. Let us remember it quickly, let us manifest ourselves often. As often as possible. Why not make it a happy goal to call a friend a day?
Listen to them
Opening the ears and the heart seems a spontaneous movement in friendship. But it’s not always that easy. Real listening requires openness, attention, an absence of judgment. To allow the friend to pour out away from all danger (friendship is a place of safety), taking the time and sometimes choosing the place are all attentions that indicate to the other that his word is welcomed and respected.
Friendship is a commitment: it is about being there, concretely, to help. But don’t hesitate to ask either. Because this link is based on exchange, reciprocity, equality. Never solicit your friends is to put them in a position of obligation. Establish an emotional debt. “Often, we don’t dare, but it’s a mistake,” confirms Stéphane Clerget.
Give them gifts
Mark your attachment with menus (or larger) present. But taking care not to overwhelm the other, which can be felt as a seizure of power. “Florentine once gave me a luxurious bag, with this sentence: ‘If at 40 you don’t have an X bag, you’ve missed your life.’ It was meant to be humorous. It was hurtful. I returned the bag to him. She never understood, ”says Muriel. A packet of tea, a pair of shiny socks, so many little offerings that really make you happy. “Look at the children of 6 or 8 years old: they lend each other their toys, make exchanges; they give without ulterior motive. Let’s be so simple, advises Stéphane Clerget. This age of childhood is that of pure friendship. We knew her, let’s find her. ”
Create happy memories
Friendship is nourished by joyful evocations that we take pleasure in remembering together. It feeds on images, like a photo album, meals, bike weekends, seaside holidays, pancake evenings, so many good times that allow new encounters, with the friends of our friends . And immortalize the founding episodes of our lives.
To love each other in friendship is to say things to each other when things are wrong. Even if it means arguing. But emptying your bag is essential. The worst enemy of friendship is the unspoken. For Stéphane Clerget, “we evolve, we change over time, and friendship also moves. Take stock when necessary, it keeps the relationship alive ”. Let’s also accept criticism: friendship helps us move forward. Who better than a friend can make us move, tell us when we are flouting our values, we are going astray?
Friendship is precious. “It is not due, it is not a contract, it is made of trust. For me, she is a treasure that I love to celebrate, concludes Laure. From time to time, I send a little declaration of friendship to my friend Laurent, just to thank him for being there. ”