One of the greatest stress relievers in life is to have a good friend. Before the age of psychologists and psychiatrists, people reached for their friends to talk over their problems. In many cases, a good friend is all that is needed when we are confronted with the normal stresses of life. Doctors tell us that meaningful relationships and friendships help us live a longer and richer life.
In the year 2000, the Dalai Lama said to me, “You should only be friends with people who see who you are, value, and validate you.” And, in fact, you can only be a true friend with people who share your values.
Reach out to people with similar interests
To make friendships and relationships rewarding, one must first reach out to others. The best place to look for a friendship is in the areas of your own interests. My mother told me, when I first started to date, that “Prince Charming is not going to come up to your door on a white horse, you are going to have to go out there to find him.”
The same is true of friendship. You have to go out there to find it. You must override both reticence and shyness. This is a behavior modification model. You have to put yourself out there and reach out to others who have common interests. Great places to start searching for friends with similar interests include: clubs, organizations, churches, synagogues and mosques, meet up groups and online groups.
You have to know how to be a friend, to make a friend
Here are some tips on developing strong, lasting friendships:
- Create intimacy.
In all relationships, bonding is everything, whether it is your mate, your child, your family, or your friend. The moment you meet someone on a date, the first thing the two of you do is share your history. That is the first step towards intimacy and bonding. By telling your story and listening to the story of others, you learn about shared experiences, challenges, and what you have in common. You discover who that person is under his/her skin; how they view and experience the world; their likes and dislikes; and, their interests and passions.