5 Ways To Cultivate Deeper Friendships

5 Ways To Cultivate Deeper Friendships

One relationship that’s stayed consistent throughout many difficult and changing seasons in my life has been the relationship with my friends.

Growing up in a small town, I was fortunate enough to form close bonds with a group of friends early on. While some of my friendships have changed and evolved since then, the one thing I’ve consistently worked on through the many years of friendships is how to cultivate deeper friendships with those in my life.

Deep friendships are important because they go beyond the surface level. No matter how often you communicate, you know that you can always count on this type of friendship because they’re always there for you without question. 

I’ve always cherished these friendships because I knew that even when it felt like my life was falling apart, whether it was the aftermath of an extremely toxic relationship or even the daily stresses of life, my friends were always there to help me try to pick up the pieces and support me along the way. The deep connection spans beyond anything, and you know you can always count on that consistent bond, no matter where you’re both at in life.

So how do we cultivate deeper friendships? Sometimes it’s easy to form an instant connection with somebody, but how do we strengthen and deepen that bond, creating a more meaningful connection with a friend? Learn 5 ways to cultivate deeper friendships with the following tips: 

1. Always Be Honest 

One value that’s always consistently been important to me is honesty. Sometimes the hardest truths to admit are the ones that we don’t want to speak out loud, yet it’s often what people need to hear the most. Cultivating a deep friendship starts with always being honest and encouraging open communication.

In the past, I struggled with speaking up about how I felt. I would hold it in and suppress my feelings, thinking that I was protecting the other person. Once I was able to learn how to stop people-pleasing, I realized that it’s better to open and honest, even if it inevitably hurts the other person.

If something is bothering you, a true friend respects and knows that it’s better to speak up, rather than hold it all in and act like everything is okay. Being honest is the only real way to work through existing problems or issues if they come up in your friendship. Not everyone will act how we expect or think they will, and both sides of the friendship will make mistakes at times. Encouraging honesty and communication is so important for understanding each other. It builds trust because you know that you’ll always have that deep connection and that they’ll always be honest with you no matter what.

Sometimes the hardest truths to admit are the ones that we don't want to speak out loud, yet it's often what people need to heart the most.

2. Listen Well And With Empathy 

You might not always have the right words when your friend is upset or venting to you, but you don’t always need the “right” words. Sometimes there are no right words, but rather, just knowing that somebody is there who cares and loves them.

After I was in a toxic relationship, I knew it was hard for my friends to know how to be there for me. I kept quiet throughout the relationship because I never wanted to open up about what was going on behind the scenes. I think what my friends realized the most afterward, was that it wasn’t always about knowing what to say and when. It was more so about learning how to truly listen to the words I was saying, while reassuring me that they were there no matter what. 

Listening with empathy is important because it helps you understand your friends’ experiences, emotions, and perspectives. We’re all different because we’re not meant to have the same life experiences. Sometimes the choices we make will lead us down the paths we’re on, and some of our experiences are a result of those choices. 

Cultivating a deep friendship is learning how to emphasize throughout those different experiences, regardless if you’ve been through it yourself. You’ll find your bond strengthened and tighter than before. Especially knowing that no matter what either of you is going through, you’ll always be there waiting with a listening and empathetic ear. 

It’s not always about specifically what we’re going through, but who is there for us through the hard times.

3. Be True To Yourself

The best type of friendships are the ones where you can grow separately without growing apart. The friendships where you both encourage each other to be your true self, no matter what that looks like. 

Being true to yourself requires establishing what your boundaries are and sticking by them. It’s important when cultivating a deep friendship to understand what respect means to both of you so that you’re never crossing a line or spreading yourself too thin. It’s never healthy in a friendship when you feel like you always have to walk on eggshells to please the other person, or agree with something simply because it feels easier than saying no. 

Being true to yourself means being true to who you are: your beliefs, morals, thoughts, and what’s important to you. If you need space, your friend should respect that. You don’t always have to say “yes” to everything out of obligation because you feel like if you don’t, then it’ll upset the other person. A strong friendship is built on the premise that there isn’t a solid need for validation because your friendship is already validated regardless. 

Never compromise who you are, just to please somebody else. A friendship should never expect or demand that, they should always respect that your decisions are valid for a reason. When you’re both true to who you are, the friendship will naturally strengthen and evolve into a more genuine, honest, and deep connection.

4. Always Show Up, Whether It’s Convenient Or Not 

Life is wildly unpredictable. Sometimes things happen that aren’t on our “schedule”, and it feels like the farthest thing from convenient.

Maybe you had a long week at work and there’s nothing you’re looking more forward to than going home and relaxing. But then, your friend calls you out of nowhere and asks you to come over because they desperately need someone to talk to. 

There will be times when it feels “inconvenient” to be there for your friend, but it’s not always about what’s convenient for you and what fits into your schedule. People will always remember who was there for them when they needed it. And sometimes it’s in those moments of deep need that it means more to somebody that you took the time out of your day to be there for them, caring enough to listen when they needed it the most.

Never underestimate the importance of showing up for somebody when they need you. Whether it’s convenient or not. Within a deep friendship, you’ll always know that the two of you can count on each other, no matter what. 

5 Ways To Cultivate Deeper Friendships

5. Accept Each Other Without Judgment 

All of my friends know that I’m always there to support them without judgment, no matter what they share with me.

A deep friendship encourages expressing true thoughts, fears, and struggles without fear of holding back. We all need a safe space where we can truly be ourselves, knowing that the person on the receiving end of the conversation will still love and care for us regardless of what we say or how we feel. 

I’ve always said I’m never in a place to judge somebody else, especially because I’ve never walked a day in their shoes. People make choices based on their life experiences, and sometimes those choices won’t add up or make sense to us. Being vulnerable can deepen the friendship, knowing that no matter what, you always have each other’s back. Even though we’re all walking different paths and making different choices, we always deserve to feel safe and valued. Cultivating a deep friendship builds and strengthens over time. Each friendship you have might look vastly different from the other, but the importance is learning how to nurture each relationship for what it is. 

One of the most important aspects of our lives isn’t found in “things”, but rather in our relationships with others. Learning how to cultivate deeper friendships in your life will help you feel more fulfilled than you ever have before.

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