"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." - Anais Nin
In ages past, a friendship was supposed to be a sacred bond between two people. Despite the interconnectedness of our age, many people lack friendships that have depth and true understanding. Many people experience the pangs of loneliness without anyone to turn to. Yet a friendship that is true and strong is not a bygone myth. It is possible to have a deep and lasting friendship if there are certain pillars to support it. Read on to find out what these pillars are.
Acceptance. Before you can be true friends with someone, you have to accept them. If you cannot do so, you will always find fault with your friend’s actions or behavior. This makes it very difficult for your friends to relax or be themselves with you. They will always feel judged by your standards. If you find yourself judging your friends on a regular basis, they may not be the right kind of friends for you. Thus, acceptance means ridding yourself of any preconceived notions of how your friend should behave. Success occurs when your friends tell you that they are comfortable being themselves with you. Whether they are silly or serious, happy or sad, it does not bother you. Acceptance is a great gift to bestow upon your friend. It is a vital pillar of a true friendship.
Understanding. A solid friendship stems from a deep understanding of each other. If you cannot place yourself in the shoes of your friends, you will find it hard to empathize with them. If you are not aware of the reasons behind their actions, their actions will perplexed you on a constant basis. This state of affairs could lead to a breakdown in communication between the two of you. When that happens, it is easy for misunderstandings and problems to arise in the friendship.
True friends understand the reasons behind the actions of their dearest friends. They know what makes you happy and sad. They know how you think and act. They know why you do the things you do. This makes it easy for them to empathize with you. So make the effort to truly understand and accept your friends. When you do so without expectation, you would have laid the foundation for a strong friendship.
Trust. Trust takes a lifetime to build and mere seconds to destroy. A friendship without trust is like a fish without water; it cannot survive. If you cannot trust your friend, you will always remain guarded in their presence. You can never be open, honest or your true self with them. Putting on a mask or an act on a continual basis is tiring. This false front will create barriers between friends that will hinder any strong bond from forming. A friendship without trust is hollow and a waste of time and effort. Therefore, trust is vital to a deep friendship. When there is trust, both of you can be honest about your thoughts and feelings without worry. Of course, there is a need for tact in your speech. Being honest does not mean being hurtful on purpose. In a solid friendship, both parties can depend on each other to watch their backs when the going gets tough.
Altruism. Actions always speak louder than words. Before a person can receive, he or she must first learn to give without expectations. One who only cares about his own self-interest would find it hard to form a deep bond with anyone. How can a deep friendship happen if both parties are unwilling to give for fear of losing out? A friendship that is all take becomes a pain very quickly. Altruism is therefore an important pillar of a deep friendship. This means having the best interests of your dearest friends at heart. When you have this mindset, sincerity flows naturally into your actions, laying the cement that will form a strong friendship. It could take the form of prudent counsel or support when they need it the most. Or it could be help in other areas of their lives. Done sincerely, your friends will always know that they have a bulwark to turn to in times of need.
Taking Action A friendship that has the pillars above as its foundation is likely to be a deep and lasting one. Not all the pillars will be easy for everyone. Some people have difficulty trusting, others have problems with acceptance. But since everything you know is learned, it means you can also unlearn ineffective behaviours. If you manage to find friends who stand by you through thick and thin, treasure them, for they may just be the ones to teach you about the pillars of friendship. A deep and lasting friendship takes time to build. That is why we should start early with people whom we feel are worth it.
Are there any other pillars of friendships that I have missed out? Feel free to give your comments on what it takes to have a solid friendship.