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Friendships help define us. Our friends can influence our choices – where we live, what we eat, what we buy. Friendships grow and change as people come and grow. There is old proverb that says, “friends are flowers in the garden of life.” Friendships need their own kind of water and soil to grow healthy and strong. The following are 3 things to keep in mind to facilitate building stronger friendships. Stronger friendships
Choose friends wisely. You do not have to be everyone’s friend. Choose to be friends with people who build you up, not tear you down. Choose friends who inspire you and welcome you, not alienate and insult you. You can’t choose the family you are born into, but you can choose your friends.
Listen. Listen closely to what the other person is saying. Let that person know that you hear them. Ask clarifying questions. Summarize what you’ve heard. Though helpful, it does not always have to be through words. Eye contact and body language are also important ways of showing someone you are listening.
Respond carefully. Think before you speak – especially if you are angry. Sometimes, taking a moment to think about what you say before you start blurting things out will spare hurt feelings and bruised pride. Also, when friends feel like it is okay to be themselves around you, they trust you. Choose your words with care.