Friendship is an essential part of the human experience. We all crave the ability to connect and be supported by others. Even those of us who are introverted and like our own space still benefit from having a couple of close friends. We are wired to be social beings.
Psychological research has clearly shown that close friendships and warm relationships help insulate us against feeling low. One of the most famous studies demonstrating this is from the School of Adult Development at Harvard.
For 75 years Harvard researchers have followed a group of men closely to see what makes us happy. This study had shown that strong relationships are one of the things that make us more resilient, successful and happier in the long run.
But what does a great friend do that sets them apart? What can we do to make sure we are being the best friend we can be to those we love?
A great friend stays in frequent contact. They reach out and touch base simply to check-in. Even when you are separated by distance, a great friend will look for ways to keep the communication flowing. You know about each other’s lives and prioritize your relationship.
When you do connect, a great friend doesn’t spend the entire time talking about themselves. They question you to see how things are.
They ask what has been going on in your life. They are inquisitive and genuinely committed to giving you the space to share what is happening for you right now.
A great friend is present. They are tuned into your conversation when you are with them, and they listen intently. They aren’t distracted by the world around them or their phone beeping. When you talk a great friend will let you know you have been truly heard.
A great friend trusts the relationship you have, and will not second guess you. If you are less than your best one day, you can be sure that a great friend will give you a little leeway. They do not walk away quickly or turn their back on you over small quibbles.
A strength of a great friendship is built on underlying respect and mutual trust.
Life isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it is incredibly hard. It is your great friends who will be there to help you trudge through the tough times. They are the ones that you can lean on when you need some extra support or a helping hand.
They are the sweet-souls who you know will show up with a tissue to wipe away your tears and a bowl of chicken soup when you are sick. They show their love through action when you need it the most.
Share this note with someone who is a great friend to you, and make them smile today.
About Kate Snowise
Kate is a former Psychologist turned Life & Executive Coach. She mixes positive psychology and wisdom together in her programs to help people clarify what they want and need so that they can go on to create truly fulfilling lives. She shares insights about how to live the good-life on her podcast Here to Thrive [www.heretothrivepodcast.com].