Many people don’t realize it but, no matter how strong a friendship is, it needs to be cultivated over time. This doesn’t just mean sending time together. It means making sure both of you are respecting each other’s boundaries so that annoyance doesn’t create a distance between you and leave you all of a sudden wondering what happened.
- Respect each other’s time
Everyone’s time is precious. In today’s day and age, we are so over-worked and stressed out that we often have to plan things days or weeks in advance. If you are supposed to meet for coffee at 1 pm for your lunch break or have dinner at 6 on Friday night, be on time! In addition to that, if you have to cancel, make sure you let them know as soon as you know you can’t make it. If showing up late or canceling appointments becomes a habit, you might find your friend making fewer plans with you. Conversely, if your friend is disrespecting your time like this, address it before it gets out of hand and let them know how you feel about it.
- Respect each other’s space
While you might have spent all your time together when you are young, as we get older, nobody likes it when a friend regularly just pops up at their house or work unannounced or invites themselves to an event you are at because you are there.
- Respect each other’s privacy
Nobody knows everything about anybody no matter how strong their relationship is and that is okay. You don’t have to allow yourself to be pressured into talking about something you aren’t ready to talk about yet. You also don’t have to feel obligated to share the most intimate details of your life just because they are your friend and vice versa. If a friend is trying to pry something out of you, it’s okay to say, “Thanks but I’d rather not talk about that right now.”
- Respect each other’s values
You may have a lot in common, or very little. Either way, a friend should never be disrespectful because of the difference in things like religion, politics or ideas. It is okay to discuss those differences but if you or your friend are constantly trying to convince the other that their belief is wrong or inferior, then it might lead to the relationship being tarnished.
- Know when to say no
It’s a fine line between being agreeable, flexible and adaptable or being a people-pleaser. If you are a people-pleaser you should try to figure out why. Is it because you are afraid to miss out? Is it because you think good friends say yes to everything? Regardless of what it is, remember that if you say no, you’ll still be friends tomorrow.
Friendships are precious and they shouldn’t be given up on lightly. When problems that might derail a good friendship do arrive, the best way to help you get back on track is to be direct and talk it out sooner than later. You can check out some of the other articles on GoMarry.com if you like to know more about how to have a healthy friendship while you’re married or working towards one.