In Savoir Flair’s ongoing series, we tap Dubai-based life coach Sophia Fromell for her expert tips on those big, hard-to-answer questions about life and career. Here, she shares her advice on how to make better adult friendships.
How many friends do you have?
Not Facebook friends or Twitter followers, but real friends who you can call in the middle of the night, in your hour of need, and who will pick up the phone, rush to your rescue, and not gossip about you the minute you turn your back. If you’re like most people, you can count them on the fingers of one hand. The truth is that adult friendships are not easy. Think back to when you were in elementary school. It was so easy to make friends – all you had to do was walk up to someone and offer (or take away) a toy. The older you get, however, the more complex friendships seem to become.
What makes the difference is that, as we grow up, our expectations change. As children, we make friends just for the sake of play. As we grow up, though, there’s a requirement behind all sorts of relationships. Whether this is companionship, emotional support, or something else, the fact is that we get into a relationship because we are looking for something.
Think about it: When you first meet somebody, you assess whether or not you like them as a person. If you do, you will engage them in conversation and want to know more about them. As the conversation progresses, you will assess whether they appear to be trustworthy. You may then disclose some more personal information. Later on, you will decide whether this person is reliable and, if they prove to be, you will eventually allow them into your inner circle.
Friendships are as important in adulthood as they are during our early years. And when it comes down to our physical and mental health, friendships may just be the best medicine. With that in mind, Savoir Flair brings you a few key tips to help keep your adult friendships strong and healthy.
Remember: It’s about quality, not quantity.
There’s only one way to summarize this: The number of friends you have on Facebook is not a reflection of the number of real friends that you have. Your true friends are those who, despite the distance, will always be there for you.
Avoid toxic relationships.
You may have people in your circle of friends who are annoying, difficult, or simply unpleasant. While these people are not toxic, you may still want to create a little distance between you and them. Toxic people – on the other hand – will try to control you, disregard your boundaries, take without giving, and leave you feeling marginalized and wronged. These are the people you should consider removing from your life.
Don't rely on technology to keep in touch.
Sharing a post on Facebook or commenting on a friend’s picture does not count as keeping in touch. When it comes to keeping in touch, you need to do things the old-fashioned way! Pick up the phone and call a friend on his/her birthday, wish them on the birth of their child, and congratulate them on a promotion. Technology can never be a substitute for human touch, and strong friendships require you to reach out to people.
Put in time and effort.
Building a friendship is a process that takes time. You will meet a lot of people, some of whom you can trust and will become your friends. Some of these friendships will fail, so try not to take such failed attempts personally.
Iron out transitions.
People go through different stages in their lives, and so do friendships. During such transition periods, there can be tension in friendships. If, for example, your friend has recently become a parent, just accept that his/her availability may be different during this transition period. Cut your parent friends some slack and avoid criticizing them. The best thing you can do for them is to be there when they need you – after all, isn’t that what friendship is about?
Promo Photo: Evening Standard