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Tips for Making and Keeping Friends

Human beings are social creatures. After being alone for a long period of time, most people will feel lonely. Loneliness is a signal; it is a healthy hunger for companionship. Ever since Adam experienced loneliness in the Garden of Eden, people have sought out human companionship to make their lives meaningful and complete.

It’s been said that a good friend will double your joys and cut your sorrows in half. Friends are always on your team; they love and care for you. They provide a uncritical ear for you darkest secrets and a sympathetic shoulder to cry on when things go wrong. Friends expect nothing in return except your care and friendship.

Friends are a precious commodity; you can never have too many. Here are some tips for making and keeping friends:

* Develop a warm and welcoming manner, especially with those who seem shy or self-conscious. Don’t be afraid to initiate a conversation.

* Show a sincere interest in others; they will reciprocate by showing an interest in you.

* You must learn to respect yourself first, and then always show respect for others. Even when they say or do something inappropriate, every person deserves respect.

* Try to find people who share your interests. It’s easier to start a conversation if you have something in common.

* Don’t be prejudiced by age, gender, race or other superficial criteria. Why limit yourself? Everyone has a story to tell and lessons to share.

* Smile, and try to listen more than you talk. Never interrupt when another is speaking.

* Be optimistic. People enjoy being around someone with a positive attitude.

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* Try to address people by name. Remembering a name shows you consider that person to be someone significant.

* Be loyal, and as non-judgemental as possible. Don’t gossip, or criticize others behind their backs. Overlook small faults and foibles in others. No- body’s perfect.

* Be thoughtful. If you make an appointment, show up on time. Remember birthdays and special occasions with a small but meaningful gift or card.

* Try to make the other person feel important. Offer a sincere compliment, ask for their advice or opinion on something, and listen carefully to their reply.

* Don’t be petty; overlook small lapses in thoughtfulness by others. If someone forgets your birthday, or fails to call when expected, it’s not the end of the world. Next time you may be the forgetful one.

* Introduce your friends to each other. Those whom you have found to be congenial companions will probably enjoy each other’s company as well. As was pointed out above, one can never have too many friends.

It doesn’t require great intelligence or monumental effort to make and maintain rewarding friendships, but every bit of energy expended in the cause will be repaid a thousand times, not only in the present and the immediate future, but for the rest of your days.

“Friends are the sunshine of life.”
— John Hay (1871)