The key to building healthy relationships and friendships is really quite simple. Since it is very difficult to get people interested in you until you have shown an interest in them, taking a sincere and genuine interest in others is an absolute must, if you are to have good friendships. Dale Carnegie once said, "If you want a friend you have to be a friend." Of course, you know I believe every word of this statement.
So, whether you're meeting someone for the first time, or you've known each other for years, always ask others questions about themselves. Focus on the other person's interests, hobbies, opinions, feelings, attitudes, challenges, likes, dislikes, family, goals, dreams, and fears.
Always be looking for ways that you can help another. Make an effort to reach out to your friends and potential friends. This may mean making a phone call, or writing a letter of encouragement, sending an email, or stopping in for a visit. How about inviting a friend to lunch or out for coffee, or over for a cup of tea, or-well, I bet you get the idea.
I receive great joy in building my friendships by, out of the blue, just sending a small gift. My wife likes to make greeting cards that she sends out to her friends. I have seen her invest up to a half hour just building a custom card for one of her girl friends. I think this is really special, and I am sure her friends know that she really cares about them.
Speaking of my wife, I must admit I have always been a little jealous of women because their friendships seem to be much deeper and more meaningful than men's friendships. We men tend to have friendships that are much more on the surface and we talk about guy stuff, hunting, cars, money, our favorite brand of beer, and the like, but are careful not to share too much personal stuff. Maybe we guys need to work a little harder at deepening our friendships-maybe not be so afraid to be a little vulnerable once in awhile.
The bottom line is that friendships, though not always easy-and sometimes even downright messy-are so vital to our lives that we can not afford to let them slide. People need people! Who needs to hear from you today?
You know, I'd love to hear from any of you on this subject. Let me know what you do to keep friends alive and growing in your life.
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