Our value and what we think of ourselves often depends on the people around us. For instance, throughout childhood, we associate our values with what our parents think about us. As we grow and evolve, it's our friends, teachers, colleagues, or managers, with whom we associate our values.
Humans are social beings, and our emotional connections act as an anchor during tough times. These social connections are built on the foundation of trust, similarity, and belongingness, among other things. In other words, these connections are what we call our “friends”.
“A friend in need is a friend indeed.” The crux of this phrase lies with the feeling of support that we associate with our friendships. More often than not, our friends know more about us than our parents and sometimes, even our partners. And why is that? What makes us confide in them?
Many therapists state that humans base the meaningfulness of their relationships on how they feel in the company of the said person. This can be translated to the amount of joy they feel when the person is around, the amount of validation they receive, or the type of support they receive from the person in this relationship.
It is important to keep in mind that communication is key in any relationship. Communicating our needs, the things we expect from them, and utilising the feedback we get from them, helps us develop healthy, meaningful relationships. One needs to reciprocate the same kind of treatment one expects from their friend. This space is often that of barter — we give something, and we receive something.
Making somebody feel valued can be tricky as it is not one of those instances where you can have a one-size-fits-all solution. But to err is human. Do what you are most comfortable with doing.
Also, do not worry! We have curated for you a general list of things you can do to make your friend feel valued:
Listen To Them
Listen to them when they want to be heard. Often, people need somebody to just listen to them. Make sure you actively listen to what your friends have to say. Ask them if they need any advice, or if they just want to vent.
Simple phrases like, "Hey, you can tell me anything you feel", or "Would you like to share how you feel?" can help you establish a better relationship.
Let your friend know that you will support them through everything. Extend your support, and help them. Actions speak louder than words. Show up and be there. Let them know that they can fall back on you.
Communicate what you feel about them and the friendship. Communicate any lags you feel, or the parts you admire. They will understand that they hold significance in your life when you take the time to share your feelings. Honesty strengthens your bond and helps it last longer.
Appreciate even the smallest of gestures. It will help validate their feelings and efforts. Any relationship requires effort from all the partners involved. Putting effort itself is a task. And, remember, no effort is too small.
Even though you share common interests and "vibe" on the same things, perspectives and opinions can differ. Be open to these. These might cause some friction, but there is nothing that can't be solved with an honest conversation. <3
Make Time For Them:
All of us are aware of the vacation plans that get cancelled all the time! But we can make time for our friends and meet them once in a while. Be it for a movie, a lunch/dinner date, shopping, or just some time at home. For those in long-distance friendships, do an activity while being on video conferencing together.
Loyalty and trust go hand in hand. If your friend has trusted you with something, refrain from talking about it to other people. Stand up for your friend in times that they need you.
Invest in Friendship:
Any relationship requires love, trust, and support. A friendship is no different. This is an ongoing process and often does not contain over-the-top displays of affection, but are smaller acts that we perform throughout the friendship. Give the friendship your time and see it bloom.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good start to making your friends feel valued.
However, remember, you come first. To maintain relations and be a part of the group settings, we tend to overextend ourselves. Boundaries play a huge role in keeping up with healthy relationships. Maintain your boundaries, and respect the ones made by your friend.
If you need advice on how to help a friend that is going through a hard time, visit our Help A Friend section to find out how you can support them in this journey.
And remember, "Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer." So cherish your friends, love them, support them and don't forget to show them how valuable they are to you.
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