4 tips when it comes to building meaningful friendships

I am lucky to have a good number of meaningful friendships, as this has helped with my wellbeing. Being able to build meaningful friendships is not easy, but is something that I have got better with over time. In this blog post, I will give 4 tips when it comes to building meaningful friendships.

Don’t have a one-size fits all approach

When it comes to individual friendships in particular, everyone is different. If you want to build friendships that are meaningful and not just surface level, you will need to slightly tailor how you communicate with different friends. For example, some friends are happy for you to be blunt and direct with them whereas others prefer a softer approach. Some friends heavily prefer face to face interaction whereas others wouldn’t mind phone calls. If you have a one size fits all approach to how you communicate with all of your friends, it would be harder to strengthen individual friendships. On the other hand, if you are willing to tailor your communication to individual friends, then it shows that you are making the effort to know them. Note that you don’t need to massively adapt how you communicate for every single friend, and you only have to tailor very slightly.

Move away from surface level conversations

Surface level conversations (also referred to as small talk) are ones that are easy to have. For example, you could talk about what you did for the weekend. Whilst small talk can help with starting a conversation, you won’t be able to make meaningful friendships if you rely on it in your conversations. It is important to have interesting and deeper level conversations to build close friendships. One good way to do this is by identifying things you have in common with a friend and having interesting conversations on that. Another good way is to allow yourself to be vulnerable and talk about your honest feelings, as this can help form a deeper connection with a friend. What also helped me move away from surface level conversations is to not give generic replies to questions where possible. For example, if a friend asks you “How are you?”, don’t just say something generic like “Good thanks, you”, but instead give a longer and more interesting response, as that could naturally form the start to an interesting and meaningful conversation.

Don’t use the “I’m busy” excuse all the time

The majority of us are usually very busy when it comes to our schedules. In my opinion, I feel that busyness is a genuine reason when it comes to someone taking a while to reply, or if it has been a while since you met up with a particular friend or friend group. However, the reality of life is that the busy schedules never stop, and 99% of the time we would claim that we are very busy at that point of time. Therefore, we have to find a way to balance and prioritise our friendships alongside our busy schedule.  In particular, you need to be able to put in the time and effort to form meaningful friendships. It is easy to allow your busy schedule to come in the way of building meaningful friendships, but reframing your mindset can help avoid this.

Encourage honest communication

In my opinion, one of the key aspects of a meaningful friendship is trust. If there isn’t a strong level of trust between two people, then the friendship will only remain surface level at best. What has helped me build trust with my friends is honest communication. For example, I am very honest with friends with the fact that I heavily prefer face to face catch ups over video calls. I also encourage my friends to be open and honest with me when they are extremely busy or stressed. Feeling like you can communicate honestly with a friend helps build that trust between the two of you. It also helps with forming a bond that is more than just a surface level one.   

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5 thoughts on “4 tips when it comes to building meaningful friendships

  1. One thing I’ve found is there will be certain people you mesh with much more than others. And if you are really lucky you will find people who fully accept the autism and even go out of their way to explain it to their other friends and such.

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  2. These are some really great tips here. Forming meaningful friendship takes time and effort. It doesn’t happen by chance, we have to activately build our relationships. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable, have open, honest communication and explore deeper topics are great ways to do this. Great post.

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