Rethinking Retirement  

Creating Lasting Friendships

It’s been said that life’s truest happiness is found in the friendships we make along the way.  But it’s also been said that we are fortunate if we can develop as few as five lasting friendships throughout our lifetimes.  Why is it that some people seem to be so adept at creating friendships while others of us struggle to connect?

In their book, Total Life Coaching, Dr. Lloyd Thomas and Patrick Williams, Ed.D, suggest that many of us are never taught the skills required to create strong friendships and offer the following lessons to create, maintain, and nurture life-long friendships. 

  1. Give your friends more than they expect. Give, not for their sake or for the sake of the friendship, but for joy you create by giving. 
  1. Be quick to accept and forgive the hurts that are always involved in friendship. You can’t realistically expect to share so much of yourself without occasionally disagreeing. Accept each other’s differences and don’t allow little conflicts to injure a great friendship. 
  1. Consciously choose your friends.   Friendships often evolve out of co-dependencies that are not healthy for either person.  Make sure that you are emotionally healthy enough that you do not depend on your friends for personal validation, and consciously choose friends who will not rely on you for their validation. 
  1. Always tell the truth to your friends. The greatest friendships are built on trust and the ability to share your innermost thoughts. 
  1. Acknowledge who your friends are now. Accept the idea that both you and your friends may grow, change and evolve over time. As you or they grow, the friendship may also evolve, sometimes dissolving the relationship. Recognize that this is natural and thankful for the time they were in your life. 
  1. Risk loving deeply. All great friendships involve great risks. Be willing to share your friend’s pain and be supportive in times of need. 
  1. Spend time alone. This will increase your self-awareness and the likelihood that you will take full responsibility for your own thoughts, feelings and actions regarding your friendships and your life. 
  1. Honor your friendships with gentle respect and patience. Trying to force a friendship is like tearing open a flower bud to make it bloom faster. Forcing the evolution of friendships destroys them.

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