Did you know that friendships make you live a longer life? By “being a good friend”, you become kind, compassionate, understanding and adaptable. This improves all other relationships in your life too, making you happier and more gratified — all a recipe for longevity. Friends are not always easy people, mind you, but if you build on your social intelligence, you will be able to navigate your friendships to smoother waters and sense greater joy and satisfaction. Here are 5 hacks to better your friendships.
Friendships do not thrive passively. You shouldn’t just assume that once a friend, always a bestie. You cannot sit passively on the side of a road and expect that every passer-by will become your buddy without you even starting a conversation. Like all relationships, friendships need participative engagement. You need to “see” your friends; they’re not invisible entities who simply exist. Many a time we think, “She’s my friend, she will understand that I am busy” or that “He’s a good friend, he will know that I don’t like talking too much.” What does your friendship mean to you? In what way do you engage with your friends and “connect” with them?
Some friends meet at the local animal volunteering agency, others connect over dance, while several like meetups to try out new restaurants or art galleries. Or maybe just have a sleepover where you chat up and catch up. Figure their penchants and whether they match yours and try to build an overlap. The connectivity hormone oxytocin is released when you spend good time with someone you care for and it arouses feelings of closeness in living beings. For that, friends need to be physically as well as emotionally present with each other. Friendship isn’t about non-stop chatter and gossip, but when you become disengaged, the oxytocin connect gets completely lost. And so does the friendship eventually.