By Emsie Martin
Many people have a hard time with loneliness and a lack of friends. You may perhaps have 1 000 friends on Facebook, but how many of them are “true” friends? It is easy to accept a friend and then to react to everything with a Like button but most of the time you didn’t even read the post.
It is a rare occasion that one sits down with a friend over a coffee and talk about things that matter. Mostly people sit and chat about nonsense. I think we don’t realise how many people are living with loneliness. Friendship is taken for granted and it is only when one loses a friendship that you realise that you actually had a lot in common.
Dr ST Potgieter, a psychologist from Bellville, offers the following hints about friendship:
You don’t make friends by sitting in your house. You must get out and meet people. There is a saying that strangers are friends you haven’t met yet. Join a club or association where you can meet people who share your interests.
Talk to people
An introvert may find it difficult to communicate with a stranger. But regardless of how difficult it is, you will have to try and talk to people. You cannot develop friendships if you don’t want to talk. Learn the basic skills, such as how to introduce yourself and get a conversation going.
Be a good listener
People think one has to talk a lot to keep a friendship going, but there are few things so boring and uninteresting as a person who talks all the time. Rather ask the other person questions. This will stimulate him to tell more about himself, while you listen with genuine interest. Dale Carnegie said that one will make more friends by being interested in other people than by passing yourself off as interesting.
Be reliable and loyal
Some people make friends quickly, but lose friends just as fast. The reason for this is often unreliability. Let your word be your bond. Can friends rely on you? Good friendships need reliability. An untrustworthy friend is not a true friend. Loyalty means to support your friend through fair and foul, through good times and bad, through joy and sorrow. Friends carry each other in times of need.
Treasure your friendships
It is sad when a person makes a new friend and turns his back on a current friend. Do not reject your old friends. It shows a lack of integrity. People with character do form new friendships, but keep their old friends.
Be a pleasant person
If you have a negative and bitter disposition, you won’t make friends easily. People like a person with an open and easy personality, who laughs and is open to other people’s opinions ─ then people will want to chat to you and be friends.
Do not turn invitations down
Do not make excuses when you get an invitation. It gives you an opportunity to meet new people. Take some trouble and accept invitations, it could be somebody who can make a positive contribution to your life.
Stay in contact with your friends
The Scots have a saying that says: “Friends are lost if you either use them too much or too little”. Find the balance between too much and too little. If you spend all your time and energy on just one friend, you may overwhelm him. On the other hand, a friend also needs a certain amount of time to let the friendship grow.
No friendship is perfect
Accept your friend’s way of doing things, his perspective on matters and his habits that irritate you. Do not enforce your views. Respect the boundaries of your friendship.
Don’t just be an option
If you feel that you are just an option in somebody’s life, accept it and move on. Do not waste time by clinging to a friendship in which you are not appreciated. Find a friend that appreciates you, cares about you and spends time with you.
Friends inspire each other
A friend does not drag you down but helps you rise. When you feel lost, your friend lifts you up and helps you to regain your bearings.
Pray for each other
Friends pray for each other. Sometimes a friend urgently needs you to pray for him. Intercede on his behalf with our Heavenly Father.
Appreciate your friends, true and genuine friends are scarce, very scarce.