THE BLOG

How Happy Is... Your Friendship?

11/14/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Finding a good friend can often be as difficult as finding a really good love relationship. Not every friend that we have has to be in our lives forever. We may have friendships that last a lifetime, others that last for a certain amount of years as we go through similar experiences and there are those that are rather fleeting. (Not sure if the latter is in the 'friendship' category!) But hopefully we learn and grow with each of our relationships, no matter how long they are.

We all have various ways of approaching friendship. Some like to have a lot of friends, without opening up fully with any one in particular, some like to have a new best friend each year and others are fiercely loyal and like to have relationships that last a lifetime. Don't be judgmental about other people's approach, just because it isn't yours. The key is to connect with others who approach friendship in the same way as you, for it to work.

For instance, if you like to have a lot of friends, but not share too deeply with any, then connecting with people who are similar can work. But, if you are someone who likes to have friends for life and become friends with someone who likes to have a new best friend each year, then that is when a miss match can occur and potential hurt for the one who likes friendships to build and last over a long period of time. Here are a few friendship tips.

TIP 1: Do not be critical. If you are you will end up with no friends. Everyone has issues and keep in mind that your friend is also growing and transforming through life as you are and they will not be perfect. If you are more realistic about them from the beginning and have less expectations, then you less likely to feel let down by them. The higher the pedestal you put them on, the further they have to fall.

TIP 2: The dangers of gossip. Never, never talk badly about other friends to your friends, because even if you THINK they are a comrade in arms, I promise you, they will be thinking that you talk badly about them as well, when they are not around and they will NOT trust you fully. Also, it is a real energy drain to discuss others negatively. In fact, next time you gossip, notice how your energy is lower than before you gossiped.

TIP 3: Argue freely, but make up quickly. Please, please, do not break up a good friendship over a disagreement. You must be able to argue with your friends if needs be, but drop it quickly, like you might do with a member of your family. Too many really good friendships break up over small disagreements. Whereby, if you had the same argument with a partner, you would forgive them within a day. If you adhere to my first tip and don't put your friends on a pedestal then it makes this one much easier.

TIP 4: Outdated Friendships. As I mentioned before, some friendships are not meant to be forever, but you give an enormous amount to each other over a period of time and then move in separate directions. If this is the case, don't be critical of the other person and the direction that they are going in. Be grateful for the time that you have spent together, send them all the love and good wishes and move on.

TIP 5:
Who do you have around you? Here is a method to help you work out whether a relationship is still good for you. Before you spend time with a friend check out how your energy feels on a scale of 1 to 10. Then once you have spent time with them, notice if you feel more energized or drained and again, give it a number between 1 and 10. If they have drained you and you seem to feel that each time you are with them over a long period of time, then perhaps it is time to move on from that friendship. If you feel energized after your interaction or time together, then fantastic, that is a nourishing relationship.

That's it for this week. If you want to make contact with me I'd love to hear from you so please e-mail me at sophie@howhappyis.com.