Friendships need to be nurtured, and if you take them for granted, you might find them drifting away from you. One way that relationships fail is in communication. Clear communication between friends can be hard, but it is something that needs to be worked on.
Whether it is being a better listener, being more in touch with your friends' needs, and having a strong level of trust between you, there are many areas friends can work on to improve communication. Let’s take a look at four key areas that can help you forge stronger friendships.
Everybody has a friend that they feel makes everything about themselves, and you feel that they do not properly listen to you. However, nearly everybody has also been that friend at some point, and you should be aware of when you are doing it as well.
Some good ways to increase your engagement in a conversation are to maintain eye contact and make nods and head shakes to make it clear that you are listening. Avoid interrupting others, and instead of jumping in and responding, take a moment to think about what they said and what you want to say.
Practicing the Art of Talking
You might not think that you need to practice when it comes to talking with your friends, but you owe it to yourself to try something new. A behavioral analyst named Stephanie Michele wrote an article in Huffington Post where she talked about structured dialogue and how that could improve your communication.
This practice involves setting up a conversation on a topic that you and your friend will share their experiences with, with the goal of the conversation lasting between 15 minutes and half an hour. The topic can be about great vacations you have taken or any number of things, and the goal is to go back and forth discussing with one person relating their experience, and the other person indicating they understand.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
It is easy to tell a friend to let you know if they ever need anything. It is another thing to take initiative and be there for somebody, even if they do not ask.
Try to keep your promises, and be proactive about it. You may even have good friends who you never seem to make time to meet, constantly saying “we must get together soon” without actually making plans. Put in the effort to actually see each other as often as you say you want to.
Don’t Shy Away From Conflict
In friendships, you might avoid anything where you feel there is some conflict. While you don’t want conflict, you also don’t want to hide from it.
Friends should be open and honest with each other, so if you feel there is a problem, bring it up. This will resolve the problem before it becomes too big, and it will also make your friendship stronger.