We all like to be popular. Whether it’s the number of people in our social circle down at the pub or the number of entries in our mobile phone address book we would all like to feel as though we have a good number of friends.
However, when we analyse our so called ‘friends’, just how many of them are true friends and how many are, more or less, acquaintances? You’ll probably discover that you have far more acquaintances than you have friends. So, is it important to have a lot of friends? Not necessarily, but it is good for your well-being if you have a handful of close friends who will be there for you through thick and thin. These are what we’d call our ‘meaningful friendships’.
If you don’t feel that you have any true friends and that, at best, your life is made up of a number of acquaintances that you only really know on the surface or if you feel that something is lacking from the friendships that you do have and you feel the need to experience something much more deep and meaningful out of your friendships, then you need to get out and start searching for the kind of friendships that are going to fulfil you more spiritually.
Open up Your Heart
Deep and meaningful friendships often have to be nurtured and take time and effort to cultivate. Most of us are reluctant to let people see inside our inner selves but that’s something that we must be prepared to do if we want to develop meaningful friendships and move beyond the ‘banter’ that tends to form much of our interaction with those who we perceive to be our close friends.
It takes time for people to get to know you and to understand where you’re coming from and vice versa. Proper friendship is about a mutual understanding of each other’s interests, personal qualities and how that might fit into each of your lives and, like any good relationship, this doesn’t happen overnight.
It’s important that you adopt a selfless attitude if you wish to find a meaningful friend. It’s not about you asking yourself, “What can this person do for me?” but about “What can I do for you?”
So many of our friendships never go deeper than beyond the everyday ‘small talk’ but to have a truly close friendship, we must open up fully to others and let them get to know the person we are inside. Obviously, there is risk involved in doing this and it does take time and we need to take it slowly. It doesn’t mean that we have to wear our hearts on our sleeves and have to divulge our innermost secrets to all and sundry but selectively choosing those with whom you have a connection to as people who you can start to reveal your true thoughts and feelings to over time. It’s about being genuine and letting others be their true selves also.
Tips for Determining Potential Meaningful Friends
There is no particular place where you will find a true friend. They could be anywhere. Often however, you’ll have some kind of mutual interest so it could be that you meet potential friends in a sporting or activity club which you both enjoy. It could be through your place of work or through a voluntary organisation you are both a member of. Any place where people share a common interest is a good breeding ground for true friendships to be forged.
A good way of ascertaining whether or not a person is likely to become a good friend is to see who his or her friends are and what they are like. Often you can see other people’s opinions of a person reflected in the way they interact and you will often see good character traits such as patience, honesty and integrity and consideration naturally emerge.
Any good friends are bound to have something in common but that does not mean being identical in personality and background. On the contrary, differences in opinion and in your outlook on life can bring added meaning and benefit to a friendship.
Also, it may not even be necessary for you to go out searching for new friends. The friends or acquaintances you already have may be just as worthy companions, but you have not as yet tapped into what makes them truly tick. Think of your immediate circle of friends and, if you don’t feel as though you have truly made a meaningful connection, ask yourself if you’ve tried to do so.
When we knock around as a member of a larger group of friends, intimacy tends to be replaced by banter and we never really get around to discussing much that is deep and meaningful. However, if you’ve ever tried to spend time with any individual from the group you know well on a one to one basis, you’ll often see a different side to them and experience a completely new perspective over what you’ve experienced about your relationship with them as part of a group so it’s true that developing meaningful friendships can often be closer than you think.
The Importance of Meaningful Friendships
A true friend is important as they will always be there for you in times of trouble and in your hour of need just as equally as in the good times. We all need someone to turn to sometimes and good friends can often give us advice and a fresh perspective on life that we’re not able to get from a partner or from parents or our family. So, whether it’s improving the friendships we do have, forging new friendships or a combination of both, a meaningful friendship is something that can enhance our lives in such a rich way and it can become a friendship which lasts for ever.