What Makes a Strong Friendship?
A strong friendship is essential for maintaining emotional well-being. In fact, research has linked social isolation and loneliness to a host of health problems, from depression and anxiety to poor sleep quality and high blood pressure. If you don’t have a strong friend in your life, consider investing time and energy into building one.
A Strong Friend is a True Friend
A truly great friend will never leave you when you need them most, says therapist Sarah Cristerna. They’ll always be there to listen and be a support during tough times, and they won’t judge you for your feelings or circumstances.
They’ll be there to talk about your problems and share their own experiences with you, too. They’ll encourage you to keep working towards your goals, and they’ll stand by you no matter what you do or who you do it with.
Their unconditional support is invaluable. It can give you the confidence to pursue your dreams and believe in yourself, even when you think that’s impossible. A good friend will never judge you for your fears or mistakes, but they’ll help you get past them so that you can move on with your life and build a stronger relationship with yourself and others.
Honesty is a Key Elements to a Strong Friendship
A truly strong friendship is one that’s based on honesty, according to counseling psychologist and friendship expert Marisa G. Franco, PhD. She notes that the most meaningful and lasting friendships are ones that “involve the deepest levels of trust.” That means that each friend should feel comfortable expressing their feelings, values, and interests to the other.
If a friend isn’t willing to tell you what they think, feel, and believe about things that are important to them, it’s a sign that they may not be a good fit for you. So, take the time to share a little about yourself with them, and ask questions about their own.
Everyone has different interests and hobbies, so it’s important that you have a friend who isn’t afraid to encourage them. They should be a fun, encouraging person who doesn’t make you feel bad about your tastes in music, animals, or television shows.
They should also be someone who is willing to laugh together and enjoy a few stupid jokes when you’re having a bad day. This can help lift your spirits and make you feel less stressed and more carefree.
Respect is another key component of a strong friendship, says Sniderman. It means that each person in the relationship holds each other’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions in high regard, and they value the same rights and freedoms.
This is especially crucial when one of you is having an off-day or a rough patch. It’s also helpful to let a friend know when they’ve done something wrong so they can correct their behavior, rather than ignore it.
Strong friendships have a lot to do with being available and consistent in communication, say Sniderman and Romney. That’s why they encourage people to “make time for friends” — whether that’s via text, phone calls, or face-to-face meetings — and to keep in touch with each other in a regular way. And it’s also why they suggest scheduling a specific time to catch up on how your friends are doing, so you can set clear expectations around how often you’ll talk with each other.