How to Make Life Long Friends

Friendship is at or near the top of the experiences that people report as the most meaningful of their lives, reports Karen Karbo in "Psychology Today" magazine. When it comes to lifelong friends, however, it is quality rather than quantity that matters most. Although very few friendships have the ability to survive for decades, there are steps you can take to meet and befriend people whose company you will still be enjoying in your old age.

Step 1
Meet new people--after all, you aren't likely to meet a new friend between the living room and the refrigerator. Common interests are one of the main factors that initially bind people together, says Dr. Alex Lickerman in "Psychology Today." Join activities that revolve around your interests, such as a Chinese cooking class. If you have no hobbies, develop a few.

Step 2
Listen more than you speak when engaged in conversation. People like people who are interested in what they have to say. Make an effort to take a genuine interest in the lives and experiences of other people.

Step 3
Inventory your current friends. Focus on declining or unsatisfactory friendships, and decide which ones you want to abandon and which ones you want to rescue. In order to make new friends, you may have to make room for them by clearing out some old friendships from your life. However, do your best to avoid abandoning a friendship in anger, advises psychologist Irene S. Levine.

Step 4
Resurrect declining friendships that you still value, Karbo advises. You will need to take the risk of frankly telling your friend how much you value her friendship and taking the initiative to rescue it. In some cases, however, the friendship may have passed the point of no return.

Step 5
Share your true self with any new friends that you make. One of the characteristics of strong friendships is that both parties feel free to be themselves. Likewise, try to take a non-judgmental attitude toward your friend, so that she will feel comfortable sharing herself with you.

Step 6
Support and encourage your friend as much as she supports and encourages you, says Lickerman. Long-term friendships are based on equality, so don't let things get too out of balance.

Step 7
Persevere with your efforts to keep the friendship healthy. Lickerman asserts that common history is a glue that binds friendships together. There will be times when one of you will not have much time to devote to the friendship. The test of true friendship in this situation is whether or not you both keep the embers burning in anticipation of brighter days ahead.


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