I often think about being the best wife, friend, teacher, worker… I can be. Perhaps I can do more, be more, give more… Certainly all of the above but there are some very practical, down to earth ways we can show those around us they matter most.
I believe the #1 way to improve friendship is to take yourself out of the running for 1st Place. Narcissism destroys more relationships that any other personal characteristic. Anytime we think we matter more, in any way, than the person we’re relating with ruins any chance of building up the other person. Jesus said it best when He said, ‘love others’ in response to what is the greatest commandment.
Steven Covey, in his book First Things First, makes it clear that we must know the wants and needs of the other person to become successful. In our relationships, we really need to know what another likes or dislikes. Remember anything we might think is fun may not be enjoyable to someone else. Get to know your friends, husbands, co-workers. Talk to them. Discover their hobbies and interests. The best relationships take the desires of the other into account first.
When you’re building friendships and relationships don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. If it’s more than one-sided the other person is just as interested in you. If your friend says let’s go see a dirt bike race and you really can’t stand the dust then tell them. Remember, if your friend is truly interested in creating an awesome relationship they’ll find someone else to go with and both of you will discover something about the other.
That leads us to trust. If a friend chooses to do something with another person do not put a guilt trip on them. Building relationships with other people adds more to the friendships you already have. Learning to trust others is a huge growth issue. One does not need to know everything that their friend is doing every moment to build a strong relationship.
Last, but certainly not least, choose kindness. In Aesop’s fable, The Lion and the Mouse, the moral is, a kindness is never wasted. Perhaps something you’ve done in the past will lead to its reward in the future. True kindness, like love, is based on wanting what is best for the other person.
Sometimes, when I read a list like this, I think I have to do everything. Not so! Even choosing one of these suggestions will make you a standout, awesome friend. Go for it!
Blessings to you and yours!