What are the rules of friendship? What are the guidelines for creating an enriching, productive, and long-lasting friendship? This article answers these questions and more.
A lot has been written about romantic and family relationships but very little about friendship. Why is this? Do friends play a less vital role in our lives?
Most of us approach friendship in a lackadaisical manner as if it is replaceable, temporary, or of less value than family or romantic relationships. Certainly, there is less built-in permanency in a friendship than there is with family members, a spouse, or a committed romantic relationship. But does friendship have a weaker ability to enrich and support our happiness? I would say no. I would also say this is especially true for singles. This is why the rules of friendship are particularly important for singles.
No other people in your life will understand, or sometimes even comprehend, the challenges and benefits being single than other singles. Family members and friends who have spent most of their lives married will not be able to relate to the struggles and pleasures of being single. This is why friendships with other singles is such a vital aspect to being single successfully. This is also why the rules of friendship are of such importance to being happily single. This is true whether you seeking a partner or not. You will be much more successful in creating a quality relationship with a potential life-partner if you approach it from a position of independence and “preexisting” contentment and happiness. To learn more about this area read this article entitled, ”Singlehood!”
A few quality single friends can become your family of sorts. They will be the best ones to go to for advice and encouragement on issues related to being single. They might be the ones that you prefer to spend certain holidays with because you all share a common bond and understanding. If you compare this with spending every holiday at a family member’s house full of couples, children, and you – the only single adult in attendance – an occasional alternate plan may lift your spirits. Try organizing your own holiday party with your single friends and see how much more fun you have. The ability to have fun with your friends is one of the residual benefits of following the rules of friendship.
If you consider that there are no built-in family or legal ties to support its sustainability, a friendship has certain unique attributes that other relationships do not. Here is a list of attributes that are unique to friendships as compared to family, spousal, and committed romantic relationships. These attributes are not apart of the rules of friendship.
- Friendships can end instantly without any further responsibilities.
- Friendships can last beyond the lifespan of family members and spouses.
- Friendships have no stake in inheritance issues.
- Friendships have no stake in career choices.
- Friendships have no legal, social, or monetary obligations that tie them together.
- Friendships are only bound by common interests, shared values, mutual respect, and love.
Rather than present the rules of friendship from the perspective of what a friend should do or be for you, I am going to describe your responsibilities. Since, based on the Law of Attraction, you draw to you and create the type of friendships that you expect and conceive in your mind, it only makes sense to focus on you. Here are the rules of friendship.
Rules of Friendship
- Remain equally loyal in good & bad times.
- Respect the person, not the position, title, or assets.
- Always do what you say you will do.
- Never talk bad about a friend to others.
- Keep their secrets a secret. No exceptions!
- Always be an optimist, never a naysayer.
- Always be honest, but never critical.
- Always value and appreciate your friends.
- Always be grateful for your friends. Never take them for granted.
- Always focus on what you appreciate about them, not on what you dislike.
- Consider their point-of-view before trying to get them to see yours.
- Never expect anything. Give what you want to receive first.
- Help without expecting a return favor, but do not do it unconsciously.
- Take a stand in your friendships. Be who you are.
- Do not allow your friends to persuade you to do things that you know are not in your best interest.
- Do not allow your friends to persuade you to violate your morals and principles.
- Do not try to change your friends. Accept them as they are.
- Do not criticize, critique, or condemn your friends.
- Graciously, but firmly, teach your friends how to treat you.
- Maintain your friendships with periodic quality communication by email, phone, and in-person.
- Strengthen your friendships by sharing fun, challenging, and intellectual experiences.
- Let them know how much you value their friendship.
- If you love a friend, have the courage to tell them. This applies to both women and men.
To learn more about the rules of friendship, there are several excellent books about making friends on the recommended books page on this site. Look under the heading “Relationship Skills, Social Skills, Friendship Skills.”