Ten Steps to a Good Friendship

Humor is a part of good friendships.
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A good friendship can be beneficial in all areas of your life. Valuable friends provide you with emotional support, assistance in times of crisis, positive experiences, and numerous health benefits. There are steps you can take, along with dedication and hard work, that will help make your friendship successful.

1 Be Available

Whether you're there to lend a listening ear or attending an important event in your friend's life, be available when your friend needs you. According to Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist and speaker, "Being emotionally supportive is probably the most important element of any adult friendship."

2 Respect Differences

Although you have many similarities that drew you together, remember that you are still different individuals. Be respectful of your friend's personality and choices. Avoid passing judgment when your friend makes a mistake or does something that you disagree with.

3 Keep It Balanced

A good friendship should be equal and balanced. A relationship that is unbalanced or one-sided is unhealthy and will deteriorate over time. Both individuals should be equally reliable and available for each other.

4 Trust Your Friend

A healthy friendship is built on mutual trust in one another. One of the biggest benefits of a good friendship is having someone you can share your most intimate thoughts and problems with. According to “The Science of Friendship Project," research has shown that self-disclosure and trust are key elements of a healthy friendship.

5 Be Trustworthy

Building a friend's trust is a slow process that can be shattered in a moment. Show your friend you can be trusted by being discreet and not sharing things about her with others. Refrain from talking about your friend behind her back or saying things that can easily be misinterpreted.

6 Have Fun Together

Fun memories and experiences keep a friendship strong despite adversity. Make time to participate in activities that you both enjoy. Your friendship shouldn't just be about being there in the hard times; it should also be filled with happy moments.

7 Give Each Other Space

Spending too much time with your friend can also be harmful to the friendship. A possessive or overbearing friend can make you feel overwhelmed and stuck. Make sure you spend plenty of time doing separate activities or with different friends.

8 Avoid Jealousy

Envy can be very damaging to a good friendship. It's normal to experience some yearning for what your friend has or achieves. However, avoid competition in your relationship and support each other in all your successes and endeavors.

9 Make Friendship a Priority

"We often take our friends for granted and this causes heartache that doesn’t seem justified," explains Mark Matousek, author of "Ethical Wisdom for Friends." Avoid putting a boyfriend, work or acquaintances before a friend in need.

10 Keep in Touch

Good friends can stay close even when separated by distance or time constraints. Be creative and find ways you can stay in touch, such as social media sites, text messages or video conference. Make time to catch up and talk about each other's lives on a weekly basis.

Lauri Revilla has been writing articles on mental health, wellness, relationships and lifestyle for more than six years. She moved to San Antonio, Texas, from Mexico in 2006. She holds a Master of Science in Psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University.