HOW TO MAINTAIN FRIENDSHIPS

FRIENDSHIPS

None of us would like to miss them: Our friends. But friendships need to be nurtured in order to last. We provide you with numerous tips for old and new friendships – and also for how they can function at a distance when you can not sit together and play Hellspin.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?

Does money make you happy? Psychology disagrees. In particular, the research field of positive psychology deals with the topic of happiness. Its most prominent representative is Martin Seligman. Instead of focusing on mental illness, positive psychology places its research emphasis on how we can improve health, well-being and happiness. But to do that, we first need to know what makes us healthy and happy.

One answer that positive psychology researchers have found is social relationships. In a Ted Talk, Martin Seligman asks what factor distinguishes happy people from others. The answer is that they are more sociable and social. This is probably a reciprocal process. Those who are happy seek contact with other people more often, and those who socialize a lot are happier.

But that’s not all: people who maintain good relationships with others also seem to be healthier. According to an article on Spectrum, studies found that people with good social relationships live longer on average.

Another aspect is social support, the importance of which is explored again and again. In happy times, it may still be easy to go through life alone, but we all get into crises or difficult phases at some point. And when that happens, there’s no substitute for support from others – which is why we should nurture our friendships.

HOW TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS

Some people seem to naturally meet new people and make and maintain new friendships. Other people find this much more difficult. This is also related to our personalities: Extroverts tend to go out more overall, do things with others, and are more social. Introverts tend to withdraw into themselves and are often more quiet on the outside.

However, even more reserved people can succeed in making new friends. Here are a few tips for doing so:

Avoid stress: If you feel it is only a duty and exhausting to look for new friend:s, you will also automatically find it more difficult, according to Psychology Today. You’re already going about it with a rather negative attitude and aura.

  • Look for a feel-good space. Meet new people where you feel comfortable. This could be a sports club, for example, or a volunteer position. This also has the positive side effect that you and your future friends already have something in common.
  • Look for places where you can easily get into conversation with others. This could be at a language class, seminar, or continuing education, for example. Or maybe at dog training? In times of contact restrictions, this also works via friendship apps.
  • Be yourself from the start. That doesn’t mean that you should have told your whole life story after five minutes. But if you pretend, that also causes stress, and honestly, you want to meet people who like you for who you are – not some fake version of yourself. This also means showing your weaknesses and flaws, and thus vulnerability.
  • Be confident: there’s so much in you and it’s worth getting to know you as a person. Sounds cliché, but it is. So dare to show that, too.
  • Ask questions. Not sure how to start or lead the conversation? Questions are always a good way to learn about the other person, show interest, and most people like to talk about their interests or experiences. It’s a great way to break the ice.
  • Share something about yourself, too. If you also talk about yourself, you give the other person a chance to get to know you and to evaluate you.
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