How to Maintain Friendships

The Nystrom & Associates provider consulted for this article is Dr. Karin Ryan, PsyD, LP, Clinic Director, and Outpatient Therapist. Friendships are some of the most valuable relationships that we have in our lives. They provide us with emotional support, encouragement, and a sense of belonging. This increases our happiness, reduces stress, improves our self-esteem, helps us navigate challenges, and decreases loneliness. However, maintaining friendships can be challenging, especially as life circumstances change. But their impact on our emotional and mental health is worth taking time to foster those relationships. The following are some tips to help you maintain strong and meaningful friendships. Related: How to Build Your Self-Esteem

Communicate Regularly

One of the most important aspects of maintaining friendships is regular communication. This can include things like texting, emailing, or calling each other. Even if you can't talk for very long, staying in touch can help you feel connected and maintain your bond. It’s also a good idea to make plans to see each other in person as often as possible. This can be challenging if you live far apart, but even a quick coffee date or phone call can make a big difference.

Be a Good Listener

Being a good listener is a key aspect of maintaining any relationship, including friendships. When you listen to your friends, you show that you care about them and value their opinions. It’s important to be present and attentive without being distracted. Paying attention to what your friends say can help you understand their perspective and build a stronger bond. Related: 6 Tips to Build Authentic Connections

Be Honest and Open

Honesty is an essential aspect of any healthy relationship, including friendships. When you are honest with your friends, you create a sense of trust and respect. This can help you maintain your friendship, even when things get tough. Being open and vulnerable can also help you avoid misunderstandings and conflicts. Related: The Benefits of Vulnerability

Show Appreciation

Showing appreciation is another important aspect of maintaining friendships. You can show appreciation by complimenting your friends, expressing gratitude, or simply spending time with them. Small, personal gestures have a big impact. When you show your friends that you value them and appreciate their friendship, it can help to strengthen your relationship.

Be Flexible

Life circumstances can change, and it's important to be flexible when it comes to maintaining friendships. For example, you might have a friend who has a new baby and can’t make it to social events as often as they used to. It’s important to understand that these changes are temporary and to be flexible with your friend. By being understanding and supportive, you can help maintain your friendship.

Nystrom & Associates on Twin Cities Live

Watch Dr. Karin Ryan as she discusses how to maintain friendships.

Be Supportive

Being supportive is another key aspect of maintaining friendships. When you are there for your friends, you show them that you care and are there to help. This can be as simple as offering a listening ear or providing practical support. For example, you might offer to help a friend who is moving or be there for them during a difficult time.

Respect Boundaries

Respecting boundaries is important in any relationship, including friendships. When you respect your friend’s boundaries, you show them that you care about their feelings and well-being. For example, if your friend has told you that they don’t like discussing certain topics, it’s important to respect that boundary.

Make Time for Each Other

Making time for each other is essential for maintaining friendships. This means scheduling time for your friends, just as you would for any other important obligation. Whether it’s a regular coffee date or an annual holiday, be the friend that shows up when it counts.

A Word From Nystrom & Associates

Friendships play an essential role in our mental health and wellness. If you're struggling with loneliness, depression, or anxiety, please reach out for help. Talk with us at 1-844-NYSTROM or request an appointment online at any convenient location.  Related: Social Media and Mental Health: What’s the Impact?

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