Greek philosopher Epicurus believed that there are three components to happiness: examined life, freedom and friends. Friendship is the most desired of all human relationships. Not only we seek it in our companions but also in parental and romantic relationships. Friends fulfill social needs and aid in bettering up our mental well-being. Healthy friendships promote growth and can increase a person's sense of belonging and self-worth.
However, there are different kinds of friendships. Another Greek philosopher, Aristotle, classified friendships into three kinds: utility based friendship, pleasure-based friendship and virtue-based friendship. The first kind of friendship is shallowest of all and is easily broken. Both the parties in it are in some kind of self-interest. The second type of friendship is the one which is motivated by the feeling of pleasure. We are drawn towards certain people because of their sense of humor, common interests or other qualities and end up enjoying their company. However, this kind of friendship has a brief life and ends when the pleasure ceases. Aristotle the third kind of friendship highest of all. Friends are elected on the basis of their virtues and growth is promoted. This kind of friendship is immune to changes and therefore is long lasting.
We live in times of mass-confusion. There runs a tendency to mistake virtual friends on social media for real friends. People simply don't pay close attention to the friends they associate with. Nor do they invest time in nurturing a friendship. It becomes imperative to know the requirements of a healthy friendship so that one doesn't invest their time and energy in toxic relationships.
Here are some of the requirements:-
• Trust - Trust is the most needed for a strong friendship. A friend is someone we can bare our souls to and share our secrets with. It is important that we disclose our innermost desires to someone who is non-judgemental and respectful.
• Honesty - It's better to have friends who are frank and can break bitter truths with utmost love and respect than those who tend to appease with sweet lies. Honesty adds value to friendship.
• Mutual Respect - Mutual respect is the foundation on which a long-lasting friendship is built. A friend should be a person who inspires and whose goodness helps you grow as an individual.
We can't win the admiration and trust just like that. A real friendship is hard-earned one, efforts are put in it's making. The chances of fizzling out and outgrowing are higher if there's no communication and trust. Therefore friends should keep coming with new ways to strengthen their bond.
Here are some ways that can deepen a friendship for a lifetime:-
- 1.) Be a good listener
- 2.) Stay true to yourself
- 3.) Sharing stories
- 4.) Hang out with them more often
- 5.) One on one time
- 6.) Express admiration through gifts
- 7.) Being there during the tough times
- 8.) Look for shared interests
- 9.) Respect their choices
- 10.) Give enough space
- 11.) Be a good secret keeper
- 12.) Be empathetic and encourage
1.) Be a good listener
Listening is different from hearing and is highly underrated. A lot of times a person just wants to rant away their problems to someone they trust. A good listener is the one who is non-judgemental and genuinely curious. A know-it-all attitude where we are constantly comparing problems of others with our own and give unsolicited advice is repulsive and a friendship killer!
2.) Stay true to yourself
One shouldn't wear a mask in order to win someone's admiration. Long term friendship can only be achieved when one is their authentic self and is honest to their core self. Such self-awareness not only benefits one but also the friendship. It inspires others to be the truest version of themselves!
3.) Sharing stories
One way to get closer to someone is by sharing intimate stories, anecdotes, and events of significance in your life. One shouldn't be hesitant to take the first step in vulnerability. Sharing something personal encourages others to share something about themselves. This further leads to the development of trust.