Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we explored the importance of empathy, support, thoughtfulness and expressing your feelings in developing strong friendships. This week we explore some tough but nevertheless important key behaviors in friendships; apologizing, forgiving and being inclusive.

 

8. Be quick to apologize

 

When you have caused one of your friends hurt, be quick to accept responsibility and sincerely apologize. This will limit resentment and minimize damage to the friendship.

 

9. Be forgiving

 

Even our friends sometimes let us down. Be willing to remember your friends’ positives and be as objective as possible. It’s likely once you’re objective you’ll realize your friend is not a bad person per say, they have just made a mistake.

 

Remember the times when you made mistakes and your friends were forgiving and extend that same forgiveness to them. If you have difficulty forgiving please read ‘How to liberate yourself by overcoming the three blocks to forgiveness’.

 

Of course I am not suggesting that you should accept consistently bad treatment from a friend, if this is the case it may be time to assert yourself and set some boundaries.

 

10. Be inclusive

 

Often our friends come from different life circumstances. For example, I am single and one of my friends is married. In order to maintain strong friendships it is essential that we look for common ground and don’t undermine one another’s choices. For example, if I didn’t want kids and my friend was planning on starting a family, it would be very damaging and disrespectful to undermine the value of having children.

 

There are few things in life that are as rewarding as having strong, long-lasting friendships. At our core we are social beings and we all seek belonging, acceptance and connection with others. Strong friendships serve to increase our physiological and psychological well being. Friendships offer us support, encouragement and guidance when we need it. They give us compassion and understanding.

 

This emotional support significantly improves our mental stamina and strength. Friends reduce stress and illness, increase longevity and boosting recovery in those suffering from diseases. To reap these rewards we need to invest time into nurturing our friendships.

 

By cultivating these key behaviors you too can build strong, loving friendships which will see you through life’s highs and lows. With those returns, who wouldn’t want to invest in their friends?

 

Are you quick to apologize? Do you find it easy to forgive? Do you always try to be inclusive and seek common ground? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Exercises:

 

  1. List anything that you haven’t apologized for and commit to apologizing to the friend in question.
  2. Please read ‘How to liberate yourself by overcoming the three blocks to forgiveness’ and commit to forgiving a friend for a transgression, whether they are still in your life or not.
  3. List all your friends that are in different life stages or circumstances to you and write down the common ground you have with each friend. Commit to emphasizing commonalities rather than differences in future.