If you follow Accessible Psychology you know that I used to be bullied for many years when I was younger. Though I have completely recovered from that time in my life the traumatic experience has negatively impacted my memory, as most trauma almost always does. One of the best ways I have found to overcome my bad memory is to keep a diary listing everything I want to remember, including appointments, to do lists and texting or calling friends. If you struggle to remember the finer details of your friends’ lives, take heart, you’re not alone and it certainly needn’t mean you don’t care! Thankfully I created what I now call ‘The Memory Game’ to remember what is important to my friends and it’s proven invaluable.
Most people want to feel valued and understood, especially by their friends. Whilst I haven’t always agreed with my friends opinions, I have always tried to understand their perspective. When we listen intently to our friends and seek to understand them on a deeper level, both intellectually in terms of their rational and emotionally, we develop greater intimacy with them and strengthen trust. Below are just some of the ways you can show your friends you are listening intently, thereby enhancing your friendship.
- Use positive body language: Tilting your head to the side, mirroring their body language and pointing your feet in their direction all indicate an interest in what is being said and that you are actively listening.
Everyone wants to feel like their friends are interested in their lives and share in their emotional journey. In my happiest moments my friends happiness for me has been a source of encouragement, serving to cement the fact that my friends care deeply for me. Likewise in my saddest moments my friends concern for me was comforting and allowed me to feel supported and not alone. Below are just some of the ways you can show your friends you are interested in their lives and invested in their happiness.
- The memory game: Ask them questions about what is going on for them and note down any important dates in your diary to call, text or see them in person, so you can follow up on what happened and offer your support, be there to listen or share in their joy.