Friendships are essential to our overall development as human beings. Therefore, how we select our friends and the methods we use to maintain those friendships are vital. I have had a few interesting friendships. I don’t even think that some deserve to be labelled as such. Based on my own experiences and observations, I can’t help but to think that many individuals don’t choose their friends carefully. Not only that, I don’t think that persons take an intentional approach to developing and maintaining friendships. What if we took the dating approach to friendships?
The Dating Approach
When individuals are on the hunt for new relationship prospects, they pay close attention to details. They look at personality traits, lifestyle, physical appearance, characteristics and mannerisms. The assessment is done to ensure that your prospect is right for a long-term relationship. After the prospect is selected, a relationship agreement is established. Even though that relationship is established, effort is still put into maintaining and improving the relationship by both persons involved. The dating relationship is a continuous learning experience. The interest of both parties are important and once the relationship is no longer beneficial to both, it comes to an end.
So why don’t we take the dating approach to friendships?
Taking the Dating Approach to Friendships:
There is an initial attraction that draws us to an individual. We don’t always understand exactly what attracts us to that individual, but we always know when the attraction is good or bad. We could be attracted to the individual’s personality, their leadership, or even their sense of humor. Whatever attraction it is, once that attraction is mutual, one can proceed to the next step of the friendship process.
After identifying an attraction, you make an effort to establish a relationship with an introduction. After much conversation, outings and laughter, you begin to wonder if this person truly deserves a place in your life. You begin to wonder if the other individual’s intentions for the friendship are pure. Don’t be alarmed, as doubt is a natural process to go through when on the journey to establishing lifelong relationships. It is not a reason to walk away but a good enough reason to move on to the next step of the friendship process; commitment.
Commitment to the Friendship
Here’s your opportunity to settle your doubts and your worry. You have decided to commit to having this person in your life. Your emotions are guarded and you are trusting the process. You are working to see the true potential of the relationship. You are now mutually exclusive as friends. That takes us to our next step; platonic intimacy.
As committed friends, you are now learning how to gel together completely to secure a truly lifelong friendship. You are working through your disagreements together. You have let your guard down and you are understanding and trusting each other. Lifelong bonds are formed. True sacrifices are made and love becomes tangible. You are both now intertwined into each other’s lives to the point where outsiders mistake you for family. The relationship becomes extremely fragile in this stage. And for this reason the utmost care must be taken to maintain the bonds that have been formed.
You want this friendship to last. Like any other relationship, both parties must work together with this goal in mind. Here are a few tips to maintaining healthy, lifelong friendships:
- Be Honest
- Apologize for your mistakes
- Show Appreciation
- Avoid Creating Expectations
- Eliminate Assumptions
- Be Compassionate
I pray that my readers will try this approach. If you already have a meaningful lifelong friendship, ensure that both parties work to maintain the friendship. Remember, it takes two to make any relationship work. Both parties must have a mutual agreement and a desire to maintain the friendship. If both persons aren’t in agreement, it is okay to walk away.
-God Bless You