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Friendships are a major part of our lives. Especially in our young adult years, friendships often become our key relationships and these tend to last many years.

Friendships grow as two people discover more about each other and learn to accept the similarities and differences between them. Some will be short-lived while others will last a lifetime. Throughout our lives, our friends change but our need for friends remains almost constant.


What makes a Friendship?

 Here are some of the ingredients that go into making a good friendship:

1.   Be a friend to yourself first... Other people will treat us according to the way we treat ourselves. You do not have to be a perfect friend but the kinder you are to yourself, the kinder your friend will be to you.

As with all other relationships, friendships tell us something about ourselves. A friendship is like a mirror: whom you choose as a friend reflects how you feel about yourself.  

2.   Trust... Everyone wants and needs to trust others. However, trusting does not entail that you blindly give yourself to another or doing things you do not want to do. Trust is something that has to be earned, not something that is freely given away. 

3.   Honesty... Honesty does not simply mean not lying; it includes being open with others about your feelings, beliefs and desires. Be honest with yourself and with others.  

4.   Availability... Being available to your friend means being consistent and reliable. Consistency consists of willingly spending time with your friend regularly and relating in a predictable way. However, it is fair to expect some fluctuations.  

Reliability consists of making a commitment and following it through. So if you make a date with someone, do not turn around and make other plans with someone else. Availability also means being emotionally supportive.  

5.   Safety... In a safe relationship, both friends feel a deep respect and concern for each otherís well-being, and do not hurt or neglect one another. Relationships become unsafe when you feel pressured to do something that is not in your best interest.   

6.   Love... You do not have to be in a romantic relationship to experience or give love. Love plays an equally important role in friendships too. A friends shows his or her love by treating you as a unique individual with special qualities.  

7.   Respect... It is important in a healthy friendship to respect anotherís feelings and individuality. A friend will acknowledge and respect your differences without trying to change you.  

8.   Reciprocity... In a healthy friendship, the give-and-take is balanced. This balance is reciprocity. However, what you give may not be the same as what you receive. If you are not getting anything from a friendship then, be willing to let the person go.  

9.   Growth... A healthy friendship changes and grows Ė i.e. it is dynamic. How do we know if it is alive or not? It must be growing and changing constantly. A healthy friendship will encourage personal growth as well as allow both parties to explore safely with new ideas and experiences.



Johnson, J. T. 1992. Making Friends, Finding Love. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co.