Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Friends and friendship

I used to be real social being, always surrounded by friends.
Since I am not moving around much, I am finding myself lonely.
When I am among people even now, I find myself out again!
I read this following piece somewhere and thought of sharing it with all you friends!

A friend in need is a friend indeed.
Meeting new people and cultivating friendships with others is something that we all do throughout our whole life. For some people making friends comes naturally and easily, for others it is a difficult task. Whether you are a ‘social butterfly’ or lonely, or any shade of grey in between, you will benefit from reading this article. The suggestions in the article help you maintain the friendships you already have in your life, as well as giving you a ideas on how to strengthen the ones you already have in your life.

1. Don’t Judge People: Treat everyone you meet with dignity and respect. Accept that everyone is different; we are all individuals all with different backgrounds and experiences. The people in your life don’t need to share exactly the same values, beliefs and behaviours as you do in order for you to be friends with them. Don’t be narrow-minded! That is, don’t be too picky in the beginning with the people you engage with and don’t restrict you to just one group of people. Doing so could lead you to missing out on opportunities for meeting new people and forging new friendships. It can also limit the amount of fun you experience.

Every person is important and has their story to tell and after all, it takes many different people to make the world. It would be a pretty dull world if we were all the same, we would have nothing interesting to talk about and nothing to learn. So the message is clear, if you allow yourself to mix with a variety of people and are accepting of them you open yourself up to the possibility of engaging in interesting and fulfilling conversation as well as an increased opportunity to forge many great friendships.

Another important pointer to keep in mind is, you may not like or agree with everything your friends do or the choices they have made, but don’t judge them for that! After all, you too have done things you are not proud of and have made bad choices. Think about how you would want to be treated and offer that to the people in your life. Do you want the support and understanding from the people in your life, or condemnation and criticism? In other words, if you want a friend, be a friend because you only get what you give away, or you reap what you sow.

I would also like to say that the common grounds we have with people make forming a bond with someone easier, giving you both something to talk about. And the differences we have are just as important. For, they are what makes us all unique and interesting, important and beautiful human-beings. Use the differences in others as an opportunity to learn something and to express your understanding and compassion to them. Make your goal to make others feel better and happier every time you see them, spread the joy and sunshine around from your heart. By following the above advice, you will be an invaluable friend to everyone you meet everywhere you go.

2. Be a Good Listener: If you are whiny, bitchy, negative, boastful, conceited or only talk about yourself, is it any surprise that you are without friends? Instead of being whiny, talk about the things that you are thankful for. Instead of bitching about the flaws of others, talk about what you like about them. Make your goal to uplift and brighten the lives of others with your words, not burden them by dragging them down into misery. There’s enough misery in the world without you adding to it! The world is in great need of people to make it a better place and it all starts with YOU!

If you are boastful or conceited and only talk about yourself, you deprive your friend from sharing what they want to say and what’s important to them and miss the opportunity to learn anything about them. The moral is, talk less, listen more for there is a great deal you can learn from and about the people in your life if you take the opportunity to listen to them and let them talk.

It’s important to remember that good friendship goes both ways, it is a two way street. Your friendship should be built on cooperation and mutual respect for one another. For a good friendship can’t work if one person is doing all the giving and the other doing all the receiving. Make it your goal to give unconditionally without expecting anything in return. I believe a good friendship is built on balance!

3. Show a Genuine Interest in Others: When talking to someone new, ask them questions about themselves or what they like to do and listen to what they are saying, rather than focusing on your own nervousness. Remember to smile and look them in the eye. Nod your head and say something like “un huh, I see” and ask questions about what they are saying to keep the conversation about them and to keep it going! It’s also important to support what is important to your friend. Remember significant events and dates in their lives, such as birthdays and anniversaries. Call your friend regularly and always remember to send birthday cards, this is one of the ways to show
your interest in them.

Be happy for your friend. When they do something well or share with you their achievements and things they are proud of, show your recognition in any way that suits you best.

4. Don’t Gossip: Be loyal and trustworthy – if your friend tells you something private, keep it to yourself! Unless it is an ‘unsafe’ secret (i.e. your friend is contemplating seriously hurting themselves or someone else) then you would tell someone you trust to help your friend. The question you need to ask yourself is, “If I divulge something my friend has told me in confidence, is it going to get them into trouble, or out of trouble?”

In this instance, telling to get your friend OUT OF trouble is if they are thinking about hurting themselves and telling to get them INTO trouble is idle chatter behind their back. Being loyal and trustworthy also means don’t talk about your friend behind their back, especially if it is negative! How would you feel if someone was talking about you behind your back? Good friends keep private information to themselves and only tell someone about something you said if they are genuinely concerned for you or think you are at risk of going down the wrong path. After all, being a good friend means looking out for their best interest. If someone starts gossiping about someone your friend, say something like “I’m sorry I don’t listen to gossip” and walk away because it’s a well
known fact that whoever gossips to you, gossips of you and if your friend finds out that you have betrayed their trust, your relationship with them is as good as over!

5. Be Forgiving: Nobody is perfect. You’re not perfect, I’m not perfect, and NOBODY is perfect. As imperfect human beings, we occasionally say and do things that are hurtful. Knowing this fact can help you see things from your friend’s point of view. Accept and allow your friends to make mistakes because a friend is going to hurt you every once in a while and you must be willing to forgive them for that. As Bob Marley wrote “The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”

Although forgiveness cannot change the past, it can enlarge the future. When you let go of your hurts and resentment by forgiving, you take yourself from a victim to a victor because you have released the pain and are ready to move on. So, forgiveness is pragmatic and liberating.

6. Don’t Wallow in Self-Pity: NEVER, NEVER feel sorry for yourself or wallow in self-pity! This is a big turn-off for people! Although you know you are a strong, valuable person, by acting weak (wallowing in self-pity) people will treat you like a weak person.

Not only that, complaining about your problems all the time will drive potential friends away, and is detrimental to existing friendships in your life. No one wants to hang-out with a negative person. By complaining or talking too much about your bad experiences, how unfortunate you are, people are going to stop treating you with respect and may take advantage of you! Worst yet, it wears people down and you could lose a friend altogether by succumbing to self-pity.

My motto is: “Always laugh at yourself, don’t laugh at others! Never feel sorry for yourself, feel sorry for others.” This makes you a hero! A hero (or warrior) is someone that can move on quickly and bounce back from the bad times and take their hardships in their stride and get on with it with accountability and a positive outlook. Also, by refusing to feel sorry for yourself and by having a sense of humor (being able to laugh at yourself) is one way of winning people’s respect forever

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