Friends are the ones who know you as you are, understand where you have been, accept who you have become, and still encourage you to grow. These people are special, and they should be treated as such.
Yet, sometimes you get so consumed with your own issues that you forget the basic principles of nurturing these relationships. So it’s time to re-learn the little things you should know to help your friends smile wider as they walk beside you on the road of life.
Here are some friendly reminders:
- Your time is the best gift you can give. – In your relationships with others, nothing you can give is more appreciated than your sincere, focused attention. It is indeed one of the most valuable things you can contribute to any relationship. Being with someone, listening without a clock and without anticipation of results, teaches you about love. In other words, the success of love is in the loving – it is not in the result of loving. So don’t listen with an agenda or the intent to reply. Hear what is being said with the intent to truly understand. Read The 5 Love Languages.
- You have the power to make a big difference. – Everyone in life wants to be loved and accepted. Your greatest achievements in life will be the direct result of finding this love and acceptance within yourself, andradiating it out to those around you. So believe in your power to make a difference. You truly are far more influential than you realize. In each moment that you connect with another, you have the opportunity to etch a loving, inspiring memory into their minds forever.
- What makes us different is what makes us special. – Don’t be too quick to judge others (friends or otherwise) or bully them for being different. And don’t put up with those who call you “a friend” and then judge and bully you. Respect originality. Welcome originality. Be original. Let go of the foolish need to prove yourself to everyone else, and you’ll free yourself to accomplish what matters most to you. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that you don’t have to always be and do what everyone else is being and doing. Be sure to remind your friends of this too, and support them as they pave their own path.
- Love is meant to be shared. – So many people save their ‘loving.’ They consciously avoid putting their heart into their relationships, surrendering, opening up, and sharing, because they want to save it all for the right people (best friends, lovers, etc.) and passions. But the problem is when the right people or passions come along they don’t realize it, they don’t know how to open up, and they don’t know anything about the act of loving.
- You have to love yourself too. – The best thing you can do to improve the quality of your relationships is to work on loving and healing yourself. It’s not the fact that you’re feeling angry, disgusted, helpless, anxious, defeated, or fearful that’s the problem. The problems arise when you’re unaware of what you’re feeling and why – when you don’t know how or when to calm yourself down, pick yourself up, change your thoughts, and let go of the emotions that are prolonging your suffering. Because when you lose control of these things, you end up losing your temper and taking your negative emotions out on those you care about most. Read The Mastery of Love.
- Praise and recognition matters. – Give genuine praise. Recognizing the contributions of others is a mighty act of service. This is an investment in them that doesn’t cost you a thing, and the returns can be amazing. Be sure to follow this rule: “Praise in public, penalize in private.” Never publicly ridicule someone you care about. Even in a disagreement there is an opportunity to be a guiding light, and restore happiness to the relationship, if you speak the truth out of love to help another learn and grow.
- Small gestures of kindness go a long way. – It seems like such a small thing, but in our busy lives we often forget that a kind word, a helping hand, or just a smile and a quick “thank you” can create a bright spot in another person’s life. And the best part is, when you help those around you smile, their smiles will help you smile too.
- Without honesty there is no friendship. – Honesty is the first chapter in the book of all wisdom. Honesty is the only path forward. It’s always better to tell people the truth up front. So don’t play games with people’s heads and hearts. Telling the truth and making someone cry is better than telling a lie and making someone smile. Speak and live the truth – the whole truth – all day, every day. Read The Four Agreements.
- Loyalty means the world. – True love and real friendship aren’t about being inseparable. These relationships are about two people being true to each other even when they are separated. When it comes to relationships, remaining faithful is never an option, but an obligation.
- Reaching out and staying in touch is important. – Stay in touch with those who matter to you, not because it’s convenient, but because they’re worth the extra effort. Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of. Paying attention to these people is always a priority.