We meet different people along the journey called life, and while some leave, some stay in our lives as a part of the sojourn. However, not everyone we interact with on a daily basis can be considered a friend.
Indeed, most of us have close associations that we classify further into groups as per their significance in our lives, like high-school and college friends, work-friends, hobby-friends, and then the chosen few who we consider as our “squad”; members of our core friendship group. Sadly, sometimes we tend to ignore our closest friends for far too long or end up taking their presence for granted.
Indeed, friends are the family we choose willingly. A study conducted on nearly 280,000 individuals by Michigan State University in the US revealed that over time friendships are more accurate predictors of one’s health and personal happiness than their family members. Therefore, it’s important to sustain friendships that matter to us. And friendship goals can help us strengthen and cherish these crucial relationships.
We’re social beings for the most part, and researchers agree we need closely bonded relationships – like friendships – to thrive. There’s no denying that our friends form a vital part of our lives. In addition to playing a larger role in boosting our well-being and happiness, friends also influence the way we perceive everyday situations, make decisions and our worldview.
Indeed, there are different types of friends one can and should ideally have. But, it’s also true that we attach certain core values to our associations and seek friendships which best fulfill these values or ideals. Friendship goals comprise of ideals, values, activities or experiences that help us govern our relationships. In fact, the lack of clearly established friendship goals can result in estranged or strained relationships, because one or both the friends felt ignored or isolated.
Some of us believe that only romantic relationships in our lives require sustained efforts, and that maintaining friendships is practically effortless. No matter how easily we may make friends, and how easy these friendships may seem, all friendships require some degree of effort to sustain.
Setting friendship goals can help you foster true friendships that can enrich your life, boosting your well-being and happiness levels. Furthermore, Robert Faris, professor at University of California highlights the role of stable friendships for fulfilment of one’s life goals, suggesting that those with reliable relationship networks are more motivated towards realizing their goals.
Friendship goals can vary for everyone, and there is no “one size fits all” approach possible that you can apply to all your friendships. However, the following examples can be used as a broad benchmark for formulating your own best friend goals.
“Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant,” as the eminent philosopher Socrates stated. Though we may feel that we already know our friends inside out since forever, even the most enduring friendships are a result of continued efforts to uphold the relationship.
“Friendships are more accurate predictors of one’s health and personal happiness than their family members. Therefore, it’s important to sustain them – friendship goals can help us strengthen and cherish crucial relationships.”
Here are some examples of friendship goals you can set for your close friends, with the intent of maintaining the relationship forever:
Here’s how you can prevent the physical distance from affecting your friendship:
Finding a friend in a co-worker can be a difficult task, especially in a competitive atmosphere. However, it is possible for workplace friendships to blossom with the help of some skillfully strategized friendship goals.
Before you set out to draw elaborate plans or strategies for setting your friendship goals, it's important to understand which values, ideals or experiences matter the most to you. Start by determining what you look for in your friendships, and what makes a friendship goal ideal for you. For example, do you seek friendships with like-minded individuals and those with shared interests, as opposed to those who have extremely diverse interests than you?
Once you have your preferences figured out, proceed to set actionable, timebound goals. Be sure to involve your friends in this process and take their inputs as well. After all, friendship is a two-way street built upon mutual efforts. Be sure to make these friendship goals specific and realistic as well, as it’s easy to get carried away or overwhelmed in the process. Resist the temptation to go overboard – it’s wiser to opt for practicality over thoroughness.
It's essential that you review your goals periodically, in order to track and measure your progress. These goals can be further categorized into daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals, to enable hassle-free tracking. Attaching a deadline for each of these categories may sound strict but it can keep you more accountable and driven towards acting upon them.
Indeed, friendships are unusual, voluntary relationships that we enter willingly, and hence we also need to put in the efforts required on our behalf to maintain these relationships. Setting friendship goals in place can enable us to treasure and benefit from these relationships for the foreseeable future, through consistent efforts. •
Main image: shutterstock/Cookie Studio
Fitness and healthy food blogger, food photographer and stylist, travel-addict and future self journaler. Sonia loves to write and has resolved to dedicate her life to revealing how easy and important it is to be happier, stronger and fitter each day. Follow her daily pursuits at FitFoodieDiary or on Instagram.
Learning how to talk to a parent with dementia takes both resilience and time. Dee Marques shares eight key strategies to help you deal with the
If you struggle to give your full attention to others when in conversation, mindful listening can help you improve your conversation skills. Dee
When a friend is grieving, it's not always easy to know what to say or do to try and help them. Paula Stephens shares seven suggestions on how you