by Cindy Shaw
Friend is such a powerful word that holds so many different meanings: confidant, collaborator, instigator, and the person who helps carry you through difficult experiences and celebrates and enriches the good ones.
As said by Emily Dickinson, “My friends are my estate.”
How then do we develop friendships that nurture our spirit and enrich our lives?
By following these 5 guidelines you can begin developing friendships that will uplift and inspire you.
1) Be Open Minded
One of the keys to developing a close friendship with someone is to be accepting of the other person by making an effort to understand where they are coming from. Since we each have a different set of beliefs and values and live life in our own unique way, we can always learn something of value from our friends.
Being open minded requires that we drop our judgements in favor of understanding. Although you may not agree with someone or their point of view, you can always make an effort to understand them.
2) Be a Good Listener
This is a skill few people have developed well. One thing we all need to remember is that we have two ears that were meant for listening. Too often we are too busy talking or thinking up our response, that we don’t truly listen to what someone else is really saying.
When we actively listen to someone else, we make that person feel important and special – two ingredients to maintaining a healthy friendship.
3) Be Trustworthy
Trust is a key ingredient to any strong and healthy relationship. When we keep confidences, are impeccable with our word and walk our talk, we send others the message that we are reliable, dependable and ultimately trustworthy.
Speak with integrity and only say what you mean. Avoid gossip or talking about others and always do what you say. Taking these actions will speak loudly to others that you are a trustworthy and responsible friend.
4) Be Yourself
One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and others is you – the authentic YOU. There is only one of you in this world, complete with your own gifts, talents and treasures. Your uniqueness is what makes you special and what others will seek out.
When you are honest with yourself, you can be honest with others. By being authentic, you will show your friends that you are not afraid to be who you are and in part will give them permission to be fully who they are.
5) Set Limits
As with anything in life, it is important to set limits as to what you will and will not accept in your life. This may mean ending a negative conversation with a friend or saying ‘no.’ Ultimately, setting limits is an act of self-respect.
When you set limits with friends, you are sending a loud message that you will not tolerate things that are not aligned with your life or your spirit. By openly respecting yourself, others will gain a deeper respect for you.