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Healthy Friendships: A "How-to" Guide

Friendships are a core part of who we are as individuals. But how do we start a healthy friendship? In order to cultivate this we first have to know what it is.

A healthy friendship is one that is free from toxicity, with open communication and a mutual balance of reciprocated happiness. There are friendships that are toxic, friendships that are bad for our health, friendships that are not conducive to who we are as individuals. It’s valuable to have healthy ones. When it comes down to it, these basic tips are skills you can bring into any relationship in your life, whether it be with friends, family or even significant others.

A few benefits of having a healthy friendship:

  • Reduced stress

  • Happiness boost

  • Support system

  • Sense of belonging

  • Emotional support

  • Improvement of self worth

These are all things that sound great right? All of those benefits can be possible with a happy and healthy friendship, or a few of them!

How to have a healthy friendship:

  • Open and honest communication. In our day and age it is easy for things to get misconstrued through social media or text message. Having a line of communication where you aren’t afraid to ask for the intention or meaning behind something can be so valuable!

  • Don’t Assume. When we start to assume what our friends are thinking of us, we start to blur the lines. We can also assume that they are doing things with I’ll intention. The goal here is to ask. Before you assume, ask. Ask why they didn’t invite you on that specific outing or why they didn’t text you when they said they would. This leaves no room for bad will and can help with the first point of open communication!

  • Learn to Listen. It’s great to have friends to share your daily struggles with, but do you have any friends who only speak and don’t know how to listen? Those are the friends you should avoid. Be the friend who listens, who cares and is interested in what the other person has to say.

  • Share Interests. Some friends are around simply because of how long you’ve known them, but it helps when you have some things in common! Learn new hobbies together or get interested in ones they already have! This creates a new fun thing for you to talk about and enjoy together!

These are just a few ways to gain healthy friendships!

By: Casey Shaw

Marriage and Family Therapy Intern

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