Once you’ve met people and discovered you have some things in common, the next step is to arrange to meet again. If that’s satisfying to both of you, you’ll need to continue to meet.

Ideally, you and the other person will take turns initiating contact. But if you initiate more at the beginning and your actions are responded to, that’s fine. The problem comes when you’re the only one who is initiating contact. If that happens for an extended period of time, it’s time to back off. The other person may not be looking for a friendship. They may have enough friends already, or they may be too busy to put attention into developing a friendship.

Show Interest in Your Friend

Make sure you show interest in the other person so they talk about themselves often. Listen to their stories. Find out how they are doing. Ask questions, make appropriate comments, and remember what you’re told. When you meet again, include some of the details you heard before in your conversations to follow up on what they talked about before.

Meet regularly and, if possible, frequently. This can include talking either in person or over the phone, engaging in a physical activity such as walking together, going to the gym, or doing some sort of similar interest. Although you may want to be spontaneous on occasion, most people need notice a week or two in advance. This helps avoid being disappointed if your friend can’t do something at the last minute.

How to Get Closer to a Friend

If your friend is going through a stressful time, such as a death in the family, an interview, having their home remodeled or moving into a new home, it’s nice to send a thoughtful card or note to express sympathy, congratulate them on the interview or new job, or let them know you’re thinking about them. Be sensitive about when your friend may need either emotional support or practical support. Offer to help when the occasion arises.

Stay positive and upbeat. Of course, if you’re having a difficult time, you can disclose this to your friend. But don’t allow this to become a pity party where all the attention is on you over and over again.

Give compliments to your friend. Notice some things you like about them and tell them. Share your enthusiasm about what you both are interested in and about life in general. Even though we all have unhappy times on occasion, as a general rule, focus on talking about the good in life and what makes you happy.

Keep your word and commitments. If you say you’re going to meet them at a certain time and a certain place, make sure you do it. If you’re going to be late, give them a call or text them to let them know you’re running late and when you’ll arrive. This builds trust as the other person knows you say what you mean and mean what you say.

Dealing with Problems in Friendships

If the other person doesn’t follow through with what they say they will do or hurts you in some way, discuss it. Get it out in the open and clear up any misunderstandings there may be. If your friend shows regret and makes changes to take your needs into consideration, reaffirm your friendship, forgive them, and then let it go.

On the other hand, if your friend continues to treat you poorly after you’ve spoken about it, then it’s time to find another friend who is more respectful.

If you hurt your friend through forgetting something or doing something thoughtless, do something to make it right, such as mailing them a card or note, offering to do them a favor, or taking flowers to them.

Friendship is so valuable that it’s crucial to concentrate on creating them and maintaining them. Friends can help you in difficult times, and they can help bring you joy.

Author's Bio: 

Vivian Harte is the co-author of Self-Esteem for Dummies in the Dummies series. She has helped over 12,000 people learn and use assertiveness skills during the last 14 years. She teaches online classes on assertiveness, self-confidence, and teamwork. She has a Bachelors degree in Sociology and a Masters degree in Public Administration. She taught college classes for many years in Tucson, Arizona. She has two grown children who are both successful. She lives in Tucson with her husband, three dogs and two cats.

She offers three online courses and 1-on-1 coaching, and you can find out more about these at her website, self-esteem-for-me.com. Discover how to improve your relationships and be a stronger personality in her online course Stop Being a Doormat and Start Using Your Personal Power to Build Healthy Relationships.