A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities. -William Arthur Ward
How do you make friends? It sounds like a basic question, but for many people, making friends is difficult. You should look at your passions, and find people who have similar interests. This may be work, sports, children's activities, non-profits, church or other religious institution, or hobbies.
Following are a few tips to build friendships in your life:
- Find friends where you are. Since most people spend the majority of their day at work, this is an obvious place to develop relationships. In sports, you can fairly quickly ascertain a person's character and honesty. My wife and I have developed many friendships through our kids’ activities, as well as church.
- Whenever you meet someone, ask about his or her story. Everyone has a story and likes to talk about himself or herself. In hearing their story, I frequently find connections with my own story. Those connection points are the beginning of a relationship and potentially a great friendship.
- Find friends who are older than you. Look to those who have the type of life you would like to have at that age. For example, if you are a young, married couple without children, you might look to a couple who have children, or even empty nesters who have survived through the child-rearing years. Similarly at work, an older employee can help you better understand the corporate world, and more successful navigate political and ethical challenges.
- Find friends that are younger than you. By having younger friends, you can be a source of wisdom and encouragement for others, and receive their enthusiasm and appreciation.
The right friends—diverse, ethical, younger, and older—add a depth of life and joy to those living the surpassing life.
- Ask people to tell you their story and look for connection points.
- In addition to friends your age, have friends who are at younger and older life stages.
- Share your life with your friends, and encourage them to do the same with you.
- Your friends should have similar passions to you. Pursue your passions and look for people participating in those activities.
Lifelong friendships, greater wisdom during each life stage, encouragement and a joyful life.
Excerpted from Chapter 16, Tell Me Your Story, of The Surpassing Life: 52 Practical Ways to Achieve Personal Excellence, thesurpassinglife.com.