Friends are important part of having a happy life. They add support when we need it, a kind word or two, and a way to keep us in check. All of this is important when it comes to happiness.
But what if your friendships are causing sadness and irritation in your life? What then?
Here are some ways to be happier in your friendships.
Forgive Before You Feel Like Forgiving
One mistake friends make is waiting until they are “over” something in order to forgive. Forgiveness might imply that you’re making whatever your friend did to you “okay,” but in reality what you’re doing is making a choice not to allow the harm of your friend’s actions take hold of your mind and psyche. Forgiveness is powerful. I’ve had to forgive a lot in my life and I can tell you that if you can master forgiveness, you will open up your heart to receive good things.
(Forgive print available here.)
The act of forgiving starts with a conscious choice. Once you make up your mind to forgive, the healing on your mind and heart can begin next. If you wait until you feel you’re behind things, you’ll actually spend much more time in an angry and hurt state. Forgiveness will be slower, and you may even lose a friendship in the process.
Make Sure You Communicate Clearly
Good intentions can get lost when communication is poor. You might make plans that are misinterpreted, your actions will be misunderstood, and small arguments grow more easily. Instead, figure out a way for you both to communicate on the best level you can. You might have to get outside your comfort zone in order to talk and listen effectively. Good things to remember:
- Talk in person more than working things out through email.
- If you can’t get in front of your friend, call them instead rather than texting or posting on a Facebook wall.
- Don’t assume things about a friend based on what you hear. Wait until you hear it from them.
“Dear Friends” card.
Don’t Put Unrealistic Expectations On Your Friendship
If you put too many expectations on your friends, your friendship will suffer. Remember, it’s up to you to choose to be happy, and to find ways to make that happen. Even though your friends help with happiness, you can’t expect them to make you happy all the time. Friendships, like any relationship, have ups and downs.
Overall, you need to have good friends in your life who care about you and who you can trust. But even these folks will have a bad day or two and as a result, you might feel lousy about something a time or too. When this happens, work to correct it.
There might also be times when your friends are busy or are going through something and don’t have the same amount of time to spend with you that they did before. Roll with the changes in your friendship. It’s very typical for a friendship to change and grow as life circumstances change.
Some friendships can remain the same for years until an event may force a change. Others may change constantly. Every friendship is unique so appreciate the friends in your life for whatever capacity of closeness they can give you right now.
“Her Joyful Heart” card.
Figure Out What Makes You Happy
Happiness is rarely found in just one thing. Even if you have a great friend in your life, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be happy in your life overall. That’s why it’s important to learn more about happiness and how personally can achieve the bliss that you crave.
This process is different for everyone. Here are some ideas on how to learn about happiness:
Read up happiness with a variety of books.
Ask others what makes them happy.
Keep a friendship or gratitude journal or blog. Documenting the good in life will help you focus on the positive things you already have.
Make your mind up to be happy. The Mayo Clinic says that “The bulk of what determines happiness is your personality and — more modifiable — your thoughts and behaviors.” In other words, happiness is a practice. The more you work at it, the better you will be at it. Until then, appreciate your friendships, make time to spend with the people who care about you, and enjoy your friendships just as they are right now.