Our last post was about the importance of male friendships. For both men and women, friendships play a very important role in the ability to respond to stress, feel confident in any situation, reach goals, and experience greater levels of life satisfaction. They represent some of the most important relationships in a person’s life, and should be prioritized at or near the level of romantic relationships.
But while friendships are important, not all friendships are considered equal. It’s not necessarily enough to grow a large friends’ list on Facebook, or have coffee with a large number of people. For you to receive the most benefits from your friendships, your friendships need to be with the RIGHT people.
What Makes Someone a Good Friend?
What makes a “good friend” is going to be at least partially subjective, because each person has different interpersonal needs. But there are some questions that you should consider asking yourself about your friends in order to determine if they are the ones that are best to connect with.
- If I Met Them Today, Would We Be Friends?
History with someone can be powerful. But history should not be all that you are holding on to. There should be more there for you, whether it’s the activities you have in common, the depth of your conversation, and more.
- How Positive Do I Feel When We’re Together?
How you and your friends feel and act together affects how you feel in all aspects of your life. For example, if you spend time with a very close friend that gossips, complains, and occasionally makes snappy comments directed at you that make you feel unhappy, then the emotions you are receiving from that person may be affecting you negatively, not positively.
- How Close Can We Be?
It’s not just friendships that matter. It’s “Close” friendships. Do you feel that you can talk to them about topics that bother you? Do you feel as though they are interested in establishing closer bonds? Are you comfortable with how you interact that you’d like to create a more fulfilling friendship?
Should You Quit Your “Less Good” Friendships?
Although these questions are important, their answer doesn’t mean you should simply quit the friendships that don’t meet the ideal conclusion. You should simply consider these questions as you’re evaluating your time, and choosing who to interact with and how.
If you believe a friendship is worth growing, even though it doesn’t have positive answers to the above questions, then you should try to grow that friendship – you should simply do so in a way that will hopefully change the friendship to bring greater meaning into your life.