A sincere friend is one who gives without expecting anything from you in return. Sincere friendship allows both people to embrace and accept each other’s differences and use them to enhance their relationship. It gives you the freedom to be your own person. A genuine friendship is built on a foundation of trust and security. You communicate regularly, you know you can always turn to each other in times of need, and you have a safety net for your deepest secrets. Sincere friendship allows you both to express your ideas and opinions while growing and learning from each other.
Honesty and trust
Honesty and trust are the foundation of all healthy relationships, including friendships. Without honesty and trust in a friendship, friends may find it difficult to share personal information and not seek to support each other emotionally, leading to a more superficial relationship. If your friend asks your opinion on whether or not her outfit looks good on her, be honest with her. Be tactful when being honest with your friends, and don’t share private things they tell you with others.
Respect is another fundamental element of a healthy friendship. Dr. Joel Kimmel, a clinical psychologist, says one way to show respect to friends is to take their thoughts and feelings seriously. Respect is also shown by valuing your friends’ decisions, not undermining them. If your friend wants to date someone and you don’t quite agree with her decision, you can still respect her choice without passing judgment. Respect your friend enough to agree to disagree while preserving your friendship.
Healthy friendships are those where friends talk and listen to each other. Communication should be respectful, sincere and respectful of others. When conflict arises, you should be able to voice your concerns without fear of things escalating or becoming violent. During disagreements, make sure you are calm enough to respectfully express your concerns. When friends are too angry to express themselves respectfully, encourage them to calm down first to make sure they don’t say something they will regret later.
Support and encouragement
Good friends support and encourage each other. A good friend is there to encourage you to pursue a particular interest or help you find the confidence you need to start the business of your dreams. When hard times come, encouraging friends can give you the support you need to survive and thrive through your difficulties. Plus, if you want supportive friends, it’s important to offer that quality to your friends as well.
The benefits of a sincere friendship
From the earliest stages of life, friendship is an integral part of the human condition. Some friendships are casual and short-lived. Others meet and form deep bonds that last for years. As with most things, having friends is not always easy, but maintaining healthy friendships is worth it. Ultimately, having friends makes life better.
They show you who you are
People tend to choose friends who are similar to themselves, says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, in the Psychology Today article “Fifteen Reasons We Need Friends.” Taking this idea into account, it can be argued that friends play an important role in helping you get to know yourself better. Because friends are like-minded people, they can help you define your goals and encourage you to stay on track while you try to achieve them.
They give you a shoulder to lean on
In a New York Times article entitled “What Are Friends For? A Longer Life,” Tara Parker-Pope explains that in difficult times, many people turn to their friends for support rather than to family members or support groups. Good friends can help you cope with traumatic life events, including a serious illness, divorce, job loss or death of a loved one, experts say. Lasting friendships bring greater peace of mind because you know that, against all odds, your friends will be there for you.
They keep you on the right path
Friends step in and tell you things that most polite strangers wouldn’t say. According to Whitbourne, because your friends know your ins and outs, they are able to spot things you don’t see (or choose to ignore), and they have no problem telling you the truth. Everyone needs a reality check from time to time. Friends can also point out unhealthy lifestyle habits and encourage you to avoid or change them.
They are good for your health
In a study cited in the “Wall Street Journal” article “Beyond Facebook: the Benefits of Deeper Friendships,” author Sue Shellenbarger examined the health benefits associated with friendship. Having friends reduces bodily stress, which leads to lower blood pressure, lower heart rate and lower stress hormones. Knowing you can count on your friends offers an alternative to the traditional fight-or-flight response to stress, especially for women, says the Cleveland Clinic Wellness article “The Health Benefits of Friendship.”