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To Have Friends, You Need to Be a Friend

Question: I used to have a whole bunch of mates who I hung out with. But then I moved in with my girl and I sort of got busy and forgot to hang with them. Now, that I’m single again, I can’t seem to get any of them to call me back. I’m at a loss. Do I need to apologize or something?

Answer: Have you ever heard or used the phrase “I feel like I’m the only one giving to this relationship?” Lopsided relationships feel like work. They don’t feel equal. That can cause them to deteriorate. If you feel like a friendship is one-sided, you’ll likely lose interest and if your friends sense you aren’t contributing equally, you may get ghosted. 

Reciprocity is the key to a balanced friendship. Healthy friendships are based on a series of interactions that are fun, build rapport, and create trust. This happens by sharing experiences, connecting on a variety of levels, and pouring into the friendship. 

It takes time and effort to build a solid friendship between two people. Unlike relationships between lovers or family, friendships can be more fragile if they aren’t attended to. If someone feels they are carrying the lion’s share of the friendship they may become uninterested or, at the least, get their feelings hurt. It’s important to make sure both people are contributing equally to keep the friendship balanced. Here are three tips to help that happen. 

  1. Tip- Keep Score
  2. Tip- Ask Questions
  3. Tip- Dream Big 

Pay attention to your friendship score card- It doesn’t take much effort to pay close attention to the give-and-take of your friendships. Asking yourself when the last time was that you checked in, gave an invite, or reached out to your friends can help you nourish the relationships and keep them active. Sending a thoughtful card, text, or calling for no specific reason can brighten a friend’s day and help them feel loved. 

Check in with friends about the status of their happiness- Friendships are as important as the primary relationships you have with your family. They can get stale, feel boring, or become neglected. If you value a friendship, why not ask for an evaluation? Simply checking in with friends to see how they are feeling about the friendship can make a big impact. Be savvy with your questions and let your friends know you are checking in to see how happy they are with your friendship because you want it to be a 10 out of 10! 

Get behind your friend’s goals and dreams- Cheerleading is a primary activity in a healthy friendship. Getting behind a friend’s goals and dreams and encouraging them is important. Be sure to be as supportive of your friends as possible. Knowing that you care and celebrate their success helps them trust and feel motivated to do the same for you. True friends are not jealous of the successes of their friends, they are motivated by it. 

Healthy friendships are a series of give-and-take. They include a level of reciprocity that helps the relationship feel even and satisfying. Be sure you are giving as much as you take and be willing to communicate with your friends about everyone’s (including yours) satisfaction with the friendship. 

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