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Cultivating Lasting Friendships

Social isolation is a growing epidemic throughout the world today thanks to social media and ever-changing societal norms. Research conducted by Julianne Holt-Lundstad, a psychology professor at Brigham Young University, found that insufficient social connection is a bigger risk factor for premature death than obesity. It is also the equivalent of smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. While individuals may be increasing their social networks online, meaningful and lasting friendships are becoming increasingly harder to come by.

Now that we know human connection is essential for our health and well-being, we need to look at how to cultivate meaningful connections. One of the best ways to develop lasting friendships is to embody the characteristics of a good friend. Any relationship takes two in order to be successful. Therefore, quality friendships require the time, effort, and heart necessary for the growth and success from each individual.

Qualities of a Good Friend:

A Good Friend is Available.

I think it goes without saying that the basic necessity for any ongoing friendship is simply time invested into the relationship. In order to develop healthy and lasting friendships one must prioritize their time accordingly to allow for quality time.

A Good Friend Listens.

During time spent together, good friends make a conscience effort to remove distractions and listen to their friends. Good listeners help to validate others’ feelings and allow them to feel truly heard and understood.

A Good Friend is Kind.

Random acts of kindness can enhance any relationship. They show the individual that they are loved and thought of. Take the time to do something kind for your friends, even if it is as simple as sending a short text to let them know you are thinking of them.

A Good Friend is Trustworthy.

Trust is essential in any healthy relationship. Good friends are individuals that you can go to in confidence and trust to keep your secrets.

A Good Friend is Honest.

True friends push us and challenge us to be our best selves, which means sometimes they may tell us things we do not want to hear. Be sincere with your friends and have those difficult conversations when you see them making bad choices or engaging in negative behavior.

A Good Friends Forgives.

With any long-lasting friendship there will be times when you do not agree on things. In order to cultivate meaningful and lasting relationships we need to accept the fact that we will be required to seek forgiveness or extend it at times.

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Ashley McMann

Ashley McMann is an LPC-Intern, Supervised by Dr. Jerry Terrill, DMin, LPC-S, LMFT-S. She enjoys working with young children in play therapy and psychotherapy with young adults.
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