friendships

The Pillars of a Solid Friendship

In ages past, a friendship was supposed to be a sacred bond between two people.  Despite the interconnectedness of our age, many people lack friendships that have depth and true understanding.  Many people experience the pangs of loneliness without anyone to turn to.  Yet a friendship that is true and strong is not a bygone myth.  It is possible to have a deep and lasting friendship if there are certain pillars to support it.  Read on to find out what these pillars are.

Acceptance

Before you can be true friends with someone, you have to accept them.  If you cannot do so, you will always find fault with your friend’s actions or behaviour.  This makes it very difficult for your friends to relax or be themselves with you.  They will always feel judged by your standards.  If you find yourself judging your friends on a regular basis, they may not be the right kind of friends for you.

Thus, acceptance means ridding yourself of any preconceived notions of how your friend should behave.  Success occurs when your friends tell you that they are comfortable being themselves with you.  Whether they are silly or serious, happy or sad, it does not bother you.  Acceptance is a great gift to bestow upon your friend.  It is a vital pillar of a true friendship.

Understanding

A solid friendship stems from a deep understanding of each other.  If you cannot place yourself in the shoes of your friends, you will find it hard to empathize with them.  If you are not aware of the reasons behind their actions, their actions will perplexed you on a constant basis.  This state of affairs could lead to a breakdown in communication between the two of you.  When that happens, it is easy for misunderstandings and problems to arise in the friendship.

True friends understand the reasons behind the actions of their dearest friends.  They know what makes you happy and sad.  They know how you think and act.  They know why you do the things you do.  This makes it easy for them to empathize with you.  So make the effort to truly understand and accept your friends.  When you do so without expectation, you would have laid the foundation for a strong friendship.

Trust

Trust takes a lifetime to build and mere seconds to destroy.  A friendship without trust is like a fish without water; it cannot survive.  If you cannot trust your friend, you will always remain guarded in their presence.  You can never be open, honest or your true self with them.  Putting on a mask or an act on a continual basis is tiring.  This false front will create barriers between friends that will hinder any strong bond from forming.  A friendship without trust is hollow and a waste of time and effort.

Therefore, trust is vital to a deep friendship.  When there is trust, both of you can be honest about your thoughts and feelings without worry.  Of course, there is a need for tact in your speech.  Being honest does not mean being hurtful on purpose.  In a solid friendship, both parties can depend on each other to watch their backs when the going gets tough.

Altruism

Actions always speak louder than words.  Before a person can receive, he or she must first learn to give without expectations.  One who only cares about his own self-interest would find it hard to form a deep bond with anyone.  How can a deep friendship happen if both parties are unwilling to give for fear of losing out?  A friendship that is all take becomes a pain very quickly.

Altruism is therefore an important pillar of a deep friendship.  This means having the best interests of your dearest friends at heart.  When you have this mindset, sincerity flows naturally into your actions, laying the cement that will form a strong friendship.  It could take the form of prudent counsel or support when they need it the most.  Or it could be help in other areas of their lives.  Done sincerely, your friends will always know that they have a bulwark to turn to in times of need.

Taking Action

A friendship that has the pillars above as its foundation is likely to be a deep and lasting one.  Not all the pillars will be easy for everyone.  Some people have difficulty trusting, others have problems with acceptance.  But since everything you know is learned, it means you can also unlearn ineffective behaviours.  If you manage to find friends who stand by you through thick and thin, treasure them, for they may just be the ones to teach you about the pillars of friendship.  A deep and lasting friendship takes time to build.  That is why we should start early with people whom we feel are worth it.

Are there any other pillars of friendships that I have missed out?  Feel free to give your comments on what it takes to have a solid friendship.

The Vizier blogs at Han of Harmony.  Here, he gives tips on how to live life in harmony with the times and circumstances. The Vizier enjoys learning and finding new ways to deal with the challenges of life.  Whether it is gaining inspiration from books, observing people or just living life, he learns and reflects so that he can share his insights with others.

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  • http://www.elizabethsmithson.com Lizzie Smithson

    this is excellent. it’s so simple and you know it when you feel it, but if you really break it down, it definitely looks a lot like this.

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  • http://hanofharmony.com The Vizier

    Hi Lizzie,

    You are right. It is not that difficult to form a solid friendship if we know what we are doing.

    Thank you for your comments! :)

  • http://www.balancedworklife.com/blog Bryce Christiansen

    Hey Vizer,

    I read your comments on a lot of the blogs I follow. Good to read one of your own articles.

    Friendships are such a key source to happiness. Another foundation is service. Some of the people I know who have more friends than I can count are some of the most giving people I know.

    Great post.

  • http://www.personal-success-factors.com Steve-Personal Success Factors

    This is one fantastic article! I personally really liked the pillar of altruism. It’s such a hallmark of effective friendship. I’ve always admired the service and altruism of some of my closest friends. Great pillar for me to continuously strive to improve in!

  • http://hanofharmony.com The Vizier

    Hi Bryce,

    Thank you for your kind words! :)

    Ah you make a great point. Service is an excellent foundation indeed. When you give genuinely and sincerely to those who deserve it, you lay a very stable foundation for a solid friendship.

    Thank you for your comments!

  • http://hanofharmony.com The Vizier

    Hi Steve,

    I agree with you. The pillar of altruism is very important in a solid friendship. It isn’t always easy, but continual effort in this area will strengthen your friendships.

    Thank you for your comments!

  • Steve Kim

    Hi Vizer,

    Just out of curiosity, is your avatar “Gong myung” from 3 kingdoms?

  • http://hanofharmony.com The Vizier

    Hi Steve,

    Eh, I am not sure what Gong Myung translates to in Chinese hanyu pinyin, but my avatar is actually Fa Zheng. I got it from ROTK IX if I recall correctly. :)

  • Anon

    Hi Vizier,

    Very insightful article. I know too many people who are missing at least one of the pillars you have listed.

  • dawn hild

    I wish some of my in-laws would read this…
    Judgment and very unforgiving natures run rampant with my brother and sister-in-law.
    I try to accept them as they are- but after 30 years of their venom, I just can’t be friends with them anymore.
    So sad… but enough already.

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