Everyone has friends or those they regard as close partners or associates. While it is simple to meet new people, make new friends and build new relationships, it is hard to find or maintain a good friendship. Yes, it takes a lot to have a good and trusted friend and much harder to keep them.
People do not stay together as friends because they just want to be together; something binds them together. Irrespective of how much you love each other, certain behaviors can destroy your relationship as friends.
For any friendship to last, there are some rules one needs to implement or avoid to evade serious misunderstanding and separation. While the other person plays his/her part in that relationship, you must play your role and keep to certain rules to enjoy a lasting friendship. Otherwise, you may end up hanging around haters who only pretend to be friends, or friends who are no more interested in the relationship.
Below are 16 tips to maintain a good and healthy relationship with friends
1. Do not betray trust:
Good friends trust each other and entrust some aspects of their lives to each other. It is not proper to betray the trust of a friend or partner.
It takes a lot to trust anyone. Trust is one of the best things anyone can offer in friendship or any relationship, and you have to protect that great gift. A friend should be able to leave his wife, money, property, children, or security secrets with you without any doubt. Friends should be able to partner in business without a second thought.
Any friend, partner, or associate that keeps betraying your trust is not worthy of the title of a good friend. Besides, it is dangerous to have a friend you cannot trust. If you want to maintain a healthy relationship or friendship, do not betray each other because no relationship can last without a level of trust.
2. Keep your boundaries:
Everyone has a red line that no one should cross. Irrespective of how much you feel free around someone, do not cross boundaries. Most friends would not tell you when you have crossed their boundaries, they would rather begin to withdraw and keep you distant; while some would remain in the relationship but cautiously.
To maintain a good relationship with friends, you should know what both of you like/dislike. You can ask what he/she does not like or keep studying each other. Some people can not forgive if you condemn their parents, religion, or tribe.
Also, if your friend has an issue with his/her partner you do not need to get involved unless you are invited into it. Even if you are invited, ensure that your suggestions are passive and positive.
3. Respect your friend’s privacy:
This is a very vital rule in any relationship; however, it all depends on the level and the kind of relationship. Are you in a romantic relationship? Then you can handle it accordingly. However, if you are just normal friends, especially with the opposite gender, you must respect his/her privacy
Many people find it offensive or embarrassing if a stranger intrudes on their privacy. Privacy, in this case, may involve personal, family, or secret lives. Privacy is one of the boundaries you must not cross if you want to maintain a good relationship.
That you are close to someone does not mean that you should begin to smell their undies or open their pots without permission, unless that is how both of you behave towards each other.
4. Do not borrow money if you cannot return it:
Money can cause a serious issue in any relationship. Friends can help each other financially but you have to handle your financial relationship wisely. If you need money, it is better to borrow from an agency or other alternative. Borrow from a friend only if you are very close to each other and ensure you return it.
Do not buy into the game of “forget about the money you lend from me”. People have personal burdens they may never share with you irrespective of how close you are to each of them. Therefore, be sensitive to returning the money you borrowed from a friend or partner without a reminder. Failure to pay back your loan can lead to distrust and can destroy friendship.
5. Don’t borrow irreplaceable valuables or properties:
Besides borrowing money, it is a good principle to avoid borrowing irreplaceable properties from friends. If you cannot afford a car, it is safe that you do not borrow it from a friend. If you are to use a friend’s belonging, let it be simple tool that you can replace or repair in case of faults or destruction.
No one would celebrate that his car caught fire in your custody. Moreover, if a friend’s property develops a fault in your hand, do well to fix it before you return it. It is a simple social ethic that can help maintain good friendships and strengthen a healthy relationship.
Even though a certain property is replaceable, do not borrow it if you know that it is a precious property to the owner. It may be a cheap possession to you, but it might mean something great to that friend.
6. Be caring and empathetic:
Empathy means placing your feet in some other person’s shoes or sharing in someone else’s feelings. Good friends care for each other. They feel the pains of each other and understand each other’s feelings.
If a friend or anyone shares his worries with you, prove that you understand it and feel the way he/she feels. Any relationship that members do not care or have concerns about each other cannot last because no one needs people who have no values in their lives. A good friend is caring, empathetic, and concerned.
7. Always forgive when your friends offend you:
A good friend should be able to forgive. Forgiveness is the key to maintaining good friendships. It may sound hard to forgive certain offences but there are simple ways to mold a forgiving heart.
No one is perfect, so no matter how holy a friend appears, offenses must come. You are together because you love, value, and respect each other. Love cannot be without forgiveness.
"A good friend does not mean a perfect friend, but a friend who understands, values, and contributes to the success of the relationship."- Inspired Scoop
If you let people go in every little offense, it will be hard for you to maintain a healthy relationship or keep good friends.
8. Be open and sincere to each other:
Openness is very good for maintaining any relationship. Friends should not be crafty and unfaithful to each other. Only fake friends pretend. Let your friend or partner know exactly who you are, what you like or dislike as well as your boundaries.
Do you smoke, do you steal, are you gay, do you feel bitter or annoyed over an issue? Open it up to your friend. Meanwhile, while expressing your bitterness to a friend, ensure you apply anger management strategy to avoid offensive escalation. There is no genuine love or good friendship without openness.
Sincerity and openness will help you to know who truly loves you because only those that love you will remain when you are real. Once you open up, those that do not deserve you will leave. This is how you can know a true friend.
The disadvantage of pretense is that no matter how much you keep it hidden, it will get exposed someday; and once it is exposed, there will be no more trust. Meanwhile, this does not mean that you should not keep your secrets to yourself to avoid betrayal. Open secrets to those you have tested and trusted, or keep them to yourself.
"A secret shared is no longer a secret."
9. Do not exploit your friend or partner:
It is a bad approach to take advantage of people. Exploitation can destroy a friendship or any relationship immensely. A good friendship is not bound by benefits but by values.
You can take advantage of someone for many years but once he/she realizes it, the relationship may come to an end in pain and regret. People cannot act foolishly forever. It is good to ask if you are in need and use sincere, polite, and faithful approaches in receiving favor from friends instead of using lies and tricks.
10. Control Your Tongue:
You are free to say anything but understand that once you say it, you cannot take it back. Whether you are joking during a picnic or annoyed during a misunderstanding, be careful of what gushes out of your mouth.
Some words can send people away from you. While you feel free and enjoy the relationship, know things you should say and things you should never say. Cursing someone’s parents or lineage is one of the serious jokes that must be avoided to maintain a good relationship.
11. Respect each other:
Respect is one of the main words in maintaining a good relationship. This does not mean that you cannot crack jokes and ridicule each other. No, you do not need to be serious all the time if you want to enjoy the relationship.
Respect means that while you are interacting, you need to bear in mind that he/she is also a personality. If a friend gets annoyed, apologize or stop the play. If a friend advises you, listen. If there are behaviors he/she warns you against, consider them wisely.
Moreover, no matter how much you are close to friends, recognize their presence and give them warm welcome when they visit. It shows love and respect. Everyone hates disregard and disrespect.
12. Reciprocate sacrifices and be actively involved:
A one-sided relationship cannot last, even if it does, it can never go well. If a friend offers a diamond, think about how to offer iron in return.
It is wrong to keep receiving kindness from someone without thinking about how to pay it back. It is wrong to always allow friends to be the ones to call or visit you.
Find time to check on them or call as well. Also, surprise them as well. A good relationship is one in which both parties participate fully in it and contribute their quota for the success of the relationship.
13. Do not expose personal secrets:
It is not good to share secrets with anyone, but it is not wrong if a friend feels he can trust you enough to share his secrets. If someone shares personal secrets with you, it proves that he/she trusts you.
"Keep secret a secret."
Leaking a personal secret is the simplest means to bring a drastic end to any relationship. Even if a friend forgives you for leaking a secret, there can never be trust and true courtesy any longer. So, if you want to be a good friend or maintain a good relationship with anyone, ensure that you do not “run your mouth” or expose what is supposed to be between both of you.
14. Be a friend in need:
A friend in need is a friend indeed. The time a friend needs you most is in time of need. Most wonderful friends may not expect anything from you but that you show concern would mean so much to them and help to strengthen the relationship.
Being a friend in need is not all about financial support or offering food when a friend is hungry, it is about just being there. Many people appreciate usual support over monetary and material gifts. What does your friend lack? Is it manners, peace of mind, or clothing? You are there to fill that space as a friend.
15. Be an encouragement and an emotional supporter:
Giving emotional support through motivation and words of encouragement is one of the best ways to maintain a good relationship. If a friend wants to give up, speak a word of encouragement to him. You are there to support each other.
People can forget your financial support, but they will forever remember how much you encouraged them during hard times. Good friends should support each other emotionally, and encourage each other in times of misery.
Your relationship has no value if there is no emotional support. You need someone to share your principal worries with and that can person only be “a friend”. A good friend should be able to give a solution, suggestions, or motivational advice in times of confusion.
16. Do not be ungrateful:
Tell a friend thank you when there is a need. It is very bad to receive from someone without showing appreciation. Ungratefulness can destroy good relationships.
"Sometimes you need to just appreciate someone for being there"- Inspired Scoop
If you are always ungrateful, your relationship with people may not last and it may be hard for you to keep friends. Bitterness hurts even the people around you.
In conclusion, play your part to keep that relationship alive. There may be a reason you are still together as friends. If your effort seems to be in futility and you observe red lights, you can withdraw for your safety because some enemies can come as friends. Nonetheless, you must consider the above rules if you want to maintain a good and healthy relationship with friends.