Friendship is the first of the elements of joyful relationships. It is also the first connection that relationship partners of the opposite sex should develop in a dating relationship. This is so important that it is advised that a dating relationship should not proceed to any other level before the element of friendship is established in the relationship.
Some of the synonyms of friendship include companionship, amity, closeness and alliance. Here are some ways we can develop and grow friendship in a relationship:
• Do not judge – Although you are not expected to like all the choices your friends and associates are making, but you should not be judgmental. Friends see each other without judgment. There are other ways you can share your opinion of the choices your friends and associates are making without being judgmental. Instead of being a judge, you can spend time finding more information about why your friend or associate is making the choices he or she is making.
• Be Honest – Honesty is the best policy anytime, any day. It is a very important character trait of a good friend. To be friends with someone, you must trust each other to be stable in difficult situations. While honesty guides good people, dishonesty destroys untrustworthy people and of course, friendships.
• Listening Power – The art of listening is a critical skill for life. It is, however, more so in relationships. People like to talk about themselves. When you are able to know a lot of things about people, you would understand how to be of helpful to them. Active listening constituents of listening and giving a feedback that shows and assures the other party that you are listening. You can listen actively by repeating what the speaker has said or nodding.
• Giving – Givers, they say, never lack. This also means that those who lack never give. It is better to give than to receive. Find ways and means to give without the expectation of a return. This is more than buying presentations. Your time and help, prayers and good wishes are far more valuable. You can help your friends with homework, cover work shift or teach a difficult subject at school or program at work.
• Catch some fun – Laughter is a great balm for the soul. Find time to create fun activities that would help you both to laugh together. Much as it is good to support your friend in times of trouble, if it is only in times of trouble that you are together, you would wear each other out easily. Having fun and laughing together would create special bonding. Caveat: there is no connotation to sexual intimate here which many people have misconstrued to be having fun. Sexual intercourse is not having fun. Having fun produces laughter. Having sexual intercourse does not produce laughter even in a married setting. Outside wedlock, sexual intercourse produces shame, dread, anxiety, emptiness and stupid feeling.
• Appreciate differences – Understand we are all wired differently. Friends do not needarily see things the same way because of the different interests, likes, dislikes. Friends do not have to agree. But friends should learn to compromise to one other. Not on principals though but on activities such which movie to go to this week, etc.
• Trust – It is better to be trusted than to be loved is a popular saying. It is even a sin not to trust people in spite of evil in the world today. Without trust, there would be no friendship. You do not have to always question your friend's motives. Give your friend the benefit of the doubt. If you can not trust someone, it is worthless spending any more hours in a relationship with that person.
• Express your feelings – Insecurity lead people to seal up themselves. Opening up to your friends or persons you are in a relationship with is part of growing your friendship. There is a need to share how you feel without judgment or fear of what it might lead to. If you can not share your feelings with your friend, the friendship has no chance of growing into a relationship.
• Give support – Friends should be there for one another, provide a shoulder to cry up in times of distress, volunteer to help in achieving worthy goals and be a cheer leader in a cause your friend is promoting.
• Identify with your friend – When your friend is in need, you should put yourself in that friends friends shoes and try to see the situation from his or her eyes. While you may not be in agreement with your friend on a subject matter, putting yourself in his or her shoes will help you be more supportive.
• A pat on the back – Touching is very helpful in building friendship. It creates bonding between two people. One good way to touch is to put your hand on a friends shoulder in support or giving a hug in greeting. However, be careful that your touching is not appropriate. Appropriate contact is usually spontaneous as a reaction to something warranting it. Inappropriate touching sometimes comes from deliberate act of wanting to arouse sexual sensations. Respect the other person's sacred / personal space.