Are You Building Your Friendships?

When something wonderful happens in your life, you call your friends to share it.  If something bad happens, you call a friend to lean on.  When you’re ready to make a change in your life, whether it’s hair color or marital status, you call a friend and confide your plans.  Humans were created to live in a community, and the richest part of that community is your friendships.  But if the friendship quiz from yesterday left you concerned about how well you’re carrying your end, here are some things you can do to get that turned around so that you can maximize your progress toward self actualization:

Tips to Build Friendships

  • Be authentic.  You will probably allow different aspects of yourself to emerge with different friends; that’s normal.  But don’t fake interests or personality qualities in order to fit in or influence.
  • Set boundaries.  Having an intimate friendship doesn’t mean that your friend is entitled to intrude on every corner of your life, nor are you entitled to intrude on theirs.  Don’t allow a friend, no matter how cherished, to dictate your decisions or your other relationships, and don’t attempt to do that with a friend.
  • Follow the Golden Rule.  Yes, it’s old, but it’s as valuable as ever.  Keep your friend’s secrets as you would want him to keep yours.  Treat your friend’s belongings and friends as you would want her to treat yours.  Be there for a friend as you would want him to be for you.  And if your friend is in crisis, don’t say, “Call me if you need me.”  They need you.  Figure out what you can do and do it.
  • Fix problems.  If you find yourself wondering if you crossed a line with a friend by saying or doing something offensive, find out and fix the problem.  Don’t choose your pride over your friendship.
  • Run a “friendship maintenance check” on yourself.  Every so often, ask yourself the hard questions:  Are you staying in touch like you should?  Dominating conversations?  Sharing decisions about activities?  Keeping up with your friends’ general well-being?

Healthy, mutually supportive friendships are essential for your mental health and growth toward self actualization.  With just a little intentional effort, you can transform your friendships into inexhaustible sources of strength and inspiration.

Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation, leadership, and teams. His tools and methods have helped hundreds of businesses and tens of thousands of people transform the ways they work and live. To learn more, visit


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