In this third and final post about friendships, I will talk about being a good friend throughout your life.
First, you have to decide what kind of friendship you want, causal, intermediate, or deep. If you want a deep friendship and notice your friend only looking for a casual one, there is usually no big issue. After a short while, you go your separate ways without investing much energy or time. The big problem occurs if the dynamic changes. One part changes how they want to have the friendship, and the other continues to think everything is as it has been. The change usually happens gradually and unconsciously. The former usually have gone through life-changing events like a romantic partner or children. One can discuss why this happens, was the commitment never as deep in the first place? Or have the priorities changed? It is very complex and has to do with deep psychological issues.
One can't prevent this from happening. The main thing we can control is being the best friend we can be. If we feel during a period, for example, the next six months I can't be an as good friend as I want because of x and y we should tell our friends that. Self-awareness! By doing that, we explain, which is highly appreciated. And most likely, our friends will ask if they can help out in any way. If you are like me and think friendships are of great importance, you might sometimes feel your friends are unwilling to put in as much effort as you. That is fine, most of the time. We all go through cycles in life. You might reach a breaking point, though, when the friendship annoys and creates frustration to a much more significant degree than it gives you positive feelings and joy. Then it is time to evaluate, but first, you bring it up with your friend in a nonaccusing way. Talk about how YOU feel and wish that you two could spend more time, etcetera. If you have done this two times during a 1-3 year period without any changes, you have two options. You accept the ways things are/have become, or you call it a quit. The risk here is that you hope for a change that won't happen, and you drag it out too long as I have done in the past.
A recipe for long-lasting friendship is to treat it as a marriage, you can argue and disagree, but there are certain things you do and some you do not do. If you do "the don'ts," it breaks. Unfortunately, some people don't get this due to psychological issues. Therefore, they end up not being good friends or a good spouse. Of course, it is not a bulletproof approach, but it might help.
I wish you long-lasting and happy friendships.
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