Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we looked at the importance of regular contact with our friends, asking questions and listening intently. This week we explore what role empathy, support, thoughtfulness and expressing your feelings play in developing strong friendships.

 

4. Empathise

 

It’s important that our friends feel understood. Actively listening improves our understanding of our friends reasoning but we also need to imagine how we would feel if we were in their situation, we need to see things from their perspective.

 

5. Be supportive

 

We need to be our friends’ biggest cheerleader and strongest commiserator.

 

6. Be thoughtful

 

Try to think of ways to show you care for your friends. For example, one of my friends was feeling low so I bought her a happiness themed present which included The Happiness Project, Happiness at Home, A Five Year Happiness Journal and a toiletries pamper kit.

 

7. Express your feelings

 

Tell your friends how much they mean to you and shower them with affection.  Be authentic and explain how you genuinely feel throughout life’s ups and downs.

 

Stay tuned – next week we’ll examine the importance of being quick to apologize, forgiving and being inclusive.

 

Are your friends very empathic? Do you offer your friends a lot of support through life’s trials? Can you give an example of a time when you were thoughtful to one of your friends? Do you often express your true feelings to your friends? 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. Remember a time when a friend did you wrong and try to imagine what they were going through and what they were feeling. Commit to doing this exercise whenever you don’t understand or disagree with one of your friends.
  2. Make a list of thoughtful gestures you can show your friends and do one thing from the list for one of your friends.
  3. Admit to one of your friends what you were feeling when you were going through a difficult time.