36 Lessons on Building Lasting Friendships

“Understand that friends come and go, but to a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps between geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.”

A brilliant quote from Mary Schmich (later used by Baz Luhrmann in a song)

Gorillas eating coconut

A pink poster of this famous speech hung in my bedroom and later in my dorm room for years. Through my first apartment and first house, with all my hard and fast rules on not collecting junk, I held on to this poster. When my taste for wall art changed, I moved it inside my closet and kept it still. When it comes to brilliant living advice, I have yet to stumble upon truer and simpler words than those uttered in this speech. How is it that I memorized the speech word for word but failed to follow it in practice? Alas, no such foresight with the pride and impatience of youth as the speech clearly reminds us but we live and learn. Today, I remember his wisdom about friendships as I reflect on mine.

So many twists and turns, so much ebb and flow, is it just me or is this the norm? Do your friendships go through ups and downs? Do your friends come and go? Or do you tread calm steady waters of sweet lasting amity? Can you be certain that investing in a friendship will help you to bloom rather than lead you to gloom? Can these promises of love and affection stand the test of time? Who knows! The future is but unknown; yet you can plan and prepare and act in the best interest of your heart and that of those you behold. You are empowered to decide what friendships to keep and of which to let go and how to choose in between. You yourself can set the course of your life’s friendships and build a few lasting ones along the way.

From a hundred failed attempts to a precious few gems, I articulate my 36 top lessons on choosing, building and holding on to lasting friendships:

1. Always listen to yourself first. Remember that peer pressure is not the same as friendship and popularity is a fad.

2. Trust your intuition toward friends. If your inner voice warns you about a friend, take heed and be cautious. The heart knows best when it comes to character judgment but cannot always articulate clearly in words that the mind can understand.

3. Always respect yourself first and foremost. If your friends cannot do the same, find new friends rather than changing who you are.

4. Be on time. Every time. Punctuality is a sign of respect and trust and aside from a casual slip-up once or twice, a trend of tardiness is a sure sign of trouble and must be handled with care.

5. Guard your feelings while you share your love and affection. Do not put up with friends who play with your feelings. Even in fun and games, you may be sensitive and they ignorant but this is no reason to pay the price with pain.

6. Keep your promises or do not bother making them at all. Know yourself well enough to realize whether you can hold a promise or struggle with it. Then act accordingly. Expect your friends to do the same for you.

7. Honor your commitments to plans or else respect your friends enough to let them know well in advance about any changes. Do not change your commitments often; it is better to make less commitments than to constantly appear indecisive and flippant.

8. Be selfish but be kind and gentle about it. Being selfish and honest makes you a better friend. It means stating your preference, being open and candid in communications, and not pretending to be another in order to fit in. If you do, sooner or later, you’ll miss being yourself and your friendship will be doomed.

9. Being selfish does not mean that a phone conversation revolves only around you or that you are the center of everything. Care about your friends to ask them the simple sincere question of how they are doing when you call.

10. Be generous. Give generously and give often, especially if you are in a position to do so. Enjoy the act of giving in friendships in whatever way, shape, or form you are able to do so.

11. Never, ever mention a favor you did for a friend after the fact. Never expect a favor in return for one. This is not a business transaction and we should not keep tabs here.

12. Do not let your friends abuse your goodness. Be kind but be vigilant when you first form friendships. Your heart will know the difference between a friend indulging in your sweet company and one abusing your generosity and kindness time and again.

13. When you are in the company of your friends and an additional circle of mutual friends, use your best judgment and demeanor. Do not share everything that you would with your friend in the company of others in the circle. Exercise tact and discretion in your words.

14. Learn to read your close friends without speaking. Learn what bothers them, what frustrates them, what saddens and delights them, and anticipate how you can brighten their day with the smallest acts of kindness.

15. Do not betray the trust of your friends. Confidentiality between friends is the highest degree of motivation for continued friendships. Treat it with the utmost care.

16. Learn when to be silent when in each other’s company. Let silence build your bond without words. Not every feeling needs to be expressed at the instant that you are feeling it. Not every emotion needs words to come to life.

17. Do not allow others into the private moments of your friendship. Keep it for yourself and state your boundaries kindly but firmly.

18. Support your friends. Sometimes you are ahead in life, sometimes they are. This is the core of what friendship is for and you can express it in the best way your heart desires, so long as you express your sincere support.

19. Guard your friendship and yourself against jealousy. The powers of jealousy are strong and bitter and still very subtle. As Luhrmann says, bridge the gaps of lifestyle and focus on the meaning of your friendship instead. Ban jealousy at the door.

20. Always return phone calls. In our technology age, it is easy to downgrade the response to a text message or an email. Choose to return phone calls with a return call.

21. Do not be “too busy” too often for your friends. “Too busy” is the most lame excuse invented in the English language and I am sometimes guilty of it too. Prioritize your life and either mean your friendship or step aside and mind your state of “busyness”.

22. Leave pretense to others. Follow your heart and be honest with yourself and your friends. Can you think of a friendship that has lasted a significant amount of time with pretense between friends?

23. Understand that some wonderful friendships run their course, that some people change and some amazing relationships come to a closure long before you are ready to say goodbye. Be brave and say goodbye graciously and move on.

24. Learn how to end friendships gracefully. Ignoring them and leaving them by the wayside is one way to end them but not a graceful one. An honest explanation, a heart-to-heart chat and a soft goodbye will have many returns for your peace of mind and that of your friend.

25. Remember that high expectations – or expectations in general – lead to disappointment. Have them but know how to react when they are not met. It is not a reflection on your friend but on you for having that expectation. Perhaps too much is assumed or perhaps you need other friends but whatever you do, do not try to mold your friends into your expectations.

26. Beware of loaning to or borrowing from your friends. Kindness gets the best of us and necessity is sometimes a companion to the situation. If you do loan and borrow, be the kind of person who cannot sleep til the debt to a friend is paid and one who can look past the unpaid loan without so much as a poor sentiment. Otherwise, do not take the risk on either affair.

27. Be very cautious when you do business with your friends. It is difficult to look past a wry business transaction and return unchanged to the friendship. Some amazing business agreements and deals can very well spring from friendships but be aware of your own position before doing business and stay true to yourself.

28. Remember the kindness of your past friends. Things may not always end well but when they do and you move on, remember the good times. Really focus on what you cherished together. That is what friendship is about.

29. Learn to observe and listen to your own feelings. If a friend brings down your mood, your energy and your well-being constantly, perhaps they need a therapist and not a friend. These are difficult choices to make but I suggest you put your own well-being first with kindness but firmness.

30. Be happy, be deliriously happy for the success of your friends, whatever it may be. Success is not a zero sum game and there is more than enough of it to go around.

31. Do not be delusional about your friendships. Do not make assumptions about who your friends are, know it and validate it. There are those who are acquaintances to you and those who consider you as a mere acquaintance. Learn to distinguish between those two and the color of true friendship.

32. Do not compare yourself to your friends. Instead draw inspiration from the goodness. You never know the full circumstance of any one’s life (except perhaps the spouse who lives with you!). Envy and competition serve you poorly in friendships (and in life!).

33. Be full of compassion when your friends are in sorrow. Always visit a friend in the hospital, always! Friends can forget that you missed a wedding or a party but they shall never forget that you came to see them in the ICU or at a funeral.

34. Expect your friends to be there in your sorrow in return. Difficult times are best shared with friends for the pain lessens when it’s divided between two hearts. Expect compassion in return; this is free and good friends should offer it in abundance.

35. Forgive your friends. There are times when they simply err or say something stupid or forget. Be kind, be sweet, look past the simple nonsense and focus on what really matters. Give them the benefit of a doubt and fill the rest of your time with love.

36. Love your friends. Love them deeply, sweetly, softly and beautifully. Show them. Remember them. Cherish them. Grow up and grow old with them if you can. Keep them. Do not lose them.

~ Share your thoughts ~

Initially, inspired by the 100 list, I set out to write my 100 lessons on friendship but 36 seemed to be the magical number for me and I will look for the 37th and beyond lessons from you, my dear sweet readers!

  • http://www.peopleskillsdecoded.com Eduard @ People Skills Decoded

    Mmm, one of my favorite topics (obviously :)). I wish there were more quality articles like this one about it, instead of that lame advice on ehow.com and similar sites.

    People need to learn that building lasting friendships do not just happen. It takes a combination of generosity, open-mindedness, investment and having standards, which we can all improve on.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Eduard, a favorite topic here too and an obsessive one of late. Thank you for the quality comment. (I never use ehow.com! Gasp!)
      It takes a long time to build relationships and I’ll take your final words as our Tip #37. So very true. Thank you for sharing!

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  • http://www.virginbloggernotes.com Jean Sarauer

    You covered everything that matters to me in being a friend and with the friends I surround myself with. I was especially glad to see ‘being deliriously happy’ for friends on the list. Even though we might feel a first pang of envy, if we can acknowledge that and then just move into a place where we celebrate with them, life becomes so much more joyful and the friendship deepens.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Jean, I am sure we would make great friends then. A pang of envy is natural I think, especially if the situations are very different among two friends oh but it’s so much easier to just be happy and celebrate with them instead. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  • http://www.mindadventure.com/blog rob white

    I love this list, Farnoosh.

    I can vouch for #33. I had a friend who landed in the ICU and I decided to visit even though we were not all that close and only saw each other occasionally. Now whenever I see him he brings it up and mentions how much it meant to him.

    When we sincerely support our friends they lift us up to. When we can be ‘deliriously happy’ (love that too) for their success it simply shows that we too are capable and worthy of achieving our own dreams.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Rob, sir, I started reading your book a few minutes ago. Guys, 180 by Rob is a promising book with great art. I am sure you’ll see a review here soon. And I am so happy you were on the giving side of # 33 (I was on the receiving side!) Your friend will never forget your kindness. Happy for others who can be happy for us. Thanks for agreeing and for being here as always, Rob!

  • http://uzma7.wordpress.com/ Uzma

    Wow, Farnoosh. This is such an incredible list. What can one add to it. Sharing words from the very wise Khalil Gibran on friendship.
    “And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
    For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.”

    And let your best be for your friend.
    If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
    For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
    Seek him always with hours to live.
    For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
    And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
    For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Uzma, wow to Khalil Gibran instead on poetry in motion and on friendship explained so simply and so perfectly. Thank you for adding a poem to the most deserving topic of all, friendship – and as always, thanks for reading!

  • http://www.happyheartandmind.com Zengirl @ Heart and Mind

    Farnoosh,

    I like all of it, I would add one more;

    Treat everyone like you want to be treated!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Zengirl, I’ll take that as # 38. So true. So implied but so well-stated. Thank you!

      • http://www.happyheartandmind.com Zengirl @ Heart and Mind

        Farnoosh,

        You had in there in-direct way in these 36 tips :-) but this one is main one that I try to use with my all relationships.
        Here is another one that I like that I heard somewhere, Vitamin for being best friend: B1 :-)

  • http://thetruthofsmallsteps.com/ Jim Greenwood

    Hi Farnoosh,

    Thank you for the beautiful and provocative quote from Baz Luhrmann.

    And thank you for sharing your 36 top lessons on lasting friendships. I’ve experienced all of them from one side or another. Each a step, an insight, to what it takes to make and keep friends.

    For me, the ebb and flow you mention has been in changing locations, involvements and perspectives. Yet I see a common core in the friends that have lasted decades…

    You are the only part you can control in the relationship. You have to respect yourself and bring the real you. Without you, there is no relationship.

    Respect your friends. There are so many ways to do that, but the common threads are kindness, honesty and gratitude. And support and forgiveness go hand in hand.

    Spend time with the friends who respect you.

    Communicate with friends. Sharing and listening are the glue of relationships. In easy times it seems so natural, in hard times it’s even more important. And it’s so easy to forget.

    Time is the cement. How many close friends you have is a function of how much time you give them?

    My father once told me that you count your close friends on the fingers of one hand. I’ve found that to be true.

    Thanks again for sharing.
    Have Fun,
    Jim

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Jim, that’s way more than one or two tips so while I have lost count, I have gained so much wisdom from your additional wonderful tips. Oh and the one from your father is the truest. Distance and time will try to weaken friendship but the best survive all those odds. Thank YOU for sharing!

  • http://www.mysticmusingsandmeditations.com Angela Artemis

    Farnoosh,
    Excellent advice! (I especially love the one about trusting your intuition – of course!)

    You know over the years I’ve kept my closest friends, but what I’ve found is that sometimes people come into your life for a reason and then when the purpose has been accomplished the friendship fades.

    Thank you for sharing this worthwhile wisdom with us.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Angela, thank you !!! Of course I thought of you on the intuition one. As you know, I trust mine big time. And I am so happy to hear you have kept your friends over the years – I have lost so many, found a few from the past and made more to hopefully keep! But having said all this, I am sad and yet convinced of what you say about the purpose of some friendships. We just can’t have it all! Thanks for being here!

  • http://wealthwisdomandsuccess.com/success/ Leisa | Wealth, Wisdom and Success

    Wonderful list.
    One key to a lasting friendship is helping people to see the best in themselves and ignoring the worst.
    This is illustrated well in the classic friendship of Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh. Christopher Robin tells Pooh Bear, “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. ”

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Leisa, thank you!
      I love that tip – helping them see what they themselves sometimes cannot see. I do that often and enjoy it so much (but hardly listen when others do it for me, so self-critical I am). And believe it or not, first time I hear Pooh Bear’s advice and love it. Thank you again!

  • Bill eBob May

    Great stuff, Farnoosh — ’tis good to reflect from time to time….. Here’s one of my favorite quotes that touches on friendship (and why your advice is important):

    Be careful the environment you choose
    for it will shape you;
    be careful the friends you choose
    for you will become like them.

    - W. Clement Stone

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      eBob? Is there something I don’t know?
      Hey Bill, I do believe this is the first time you are leaving me a comment, thank you – I so love Stone’s quote. The additions from comments are sweet and I am so happy to have yours here among them!

  • http://www.jungleoflife.com/ Lance

    Farnoosh,
    Oh….this is so wonderfully written. And in it, I feel “you”, shining through. Like Rob mentioned, #33 is so true. I recall going to the funeral of a friends mother, earlier this year. Good friends…but not great friends. And – I was really taken in by the sincerity of their gratitude. And that…itself…became meaningful to me. And it also just really drove home that point – that people truly do remember these things that take a bit more effort than a quick telephone call or dropping a card in the mail…

    Anyway, this all shines!!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Lance, how good of you to go to the funeral and to be there. I bet in their eyes, you are but one great friend. I hope you are always on the giving and never on the receiving side of those situations, and thank you for being such sweet support here to everything I do or say! You rock!!

  • http://theboldlife.com Tess The Bold Life

    These are excellent! No. 12 …I’ve gotten into resentment because I allowed others to abuse my generosity. No. 30 my ego doesn’t like that one at all. I’ve had to tell it to take a hike more than once when friends succeeded! 23 and 24 are experiences in loss and need to be seen as loss and grieved. When I read these is it any wonder relationships are work. These things should be taught in school, made understandable to the very young.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Tess, I am sure #12 won’t happen again – how do you suppose I learned all of these (that I may still be prone to repeat but let’s hope not): with making mistakes!! #30 is a hard one……but so good for the heart. Losing friends is sad, I still grieve over one but going on in that state would just not have worked out. I will go teach if you find me the school of little kiddies so we give them tools to make good friends and perhaps never get hurt!

  • http://alwayswell.wordpress.com Sandra Lee

    What a very sweet and intelligent post. A wonderful reminder of how to cultivate friendships and not take them for granted. I especially like the point about allowing for silence. I don’t know about being on time though! Some people just don’t seem to have that capacity, so knowing someone’s characteristics and being flexible seem to be in order at times!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Sandra, thank you – You are a better person than me if tardiness over and over does not aggravate you ;)! But then again, one of my most favorite people in the world, my aunt, used to always be late years ago – she is more punctual these days but we loved her nonetheless (and still do). So you got me. Exceptions be made! :)

  • http://frombottomup.com/ Hulbert Lee

    Wow Farnoosh, this is such a cool post! Between me and 3 other close friends, I’d say we do have “most” of these characteristics. There is a lot of sincerity and authenticity in this post. The two things that I have found hard to do when I was younger was to not always compare myself to my friends, such as what they had or how popular they were, and another thing was to forgive my friends when they would do something horrible to me. I have however learned to deal with these issues better. Afterall, good friends who last a long time will know how to handle the difficult situations between them in the end. Thank you!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hulbert, that is a long list to nod yes to so you must have great friends in your company. I have been guilty of all of this and that’s where the lessons come in. And if someone does something horrible, then maybe that’s beyond the human error I mentioned and it might need to be addressed but I am sure you attract the best to you and I am so happy you enjoyed this post!

  • http://www.2knowmyself.com Farouk

    that’s a deep and detailed post, thank you for sharing it Farnoosh :)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Farouk, you are most welcome. Lovely to see you here from time to time.

  • http://www.abubakarjamil.com/ Abubakar Jamil

    Farnoosh,

    I think this world needs more posts like these. It should actually be printed and handed over to every friend who simply doesn’t “get it”. :)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Abubakar, no need to print with the internet. We can just spread the word electronically (unless one of our friends is particularly challenged ;) in which case a hard copy!) I am kidding – Thank you for your words and for the ReTweet!!

  • http://www.giuliettathemuse.com/blog Giulietta Nardone

    Hi Farnoosh,

    Skipped over from Less Ordinary Living! A super list.

    I agree that friendships come and go as we change and grow. The reasons they end run the gamut of human emotion.

    #21 speaks to me the most. If we don’t make time for our friends, who are we making time for?

    Thanks! Giulietta

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Giulietta (one with a pretty name!), welcome from Phil’s world into mine!
      Thank you for reminding me why they end. Sometimes I forget that I change as much as my friends do. Just human nature I suppose. Thanks so much for your first comment on prolific living!

  • http://whisperinggums.wordpress.com whisperinggums

    Wonderful list Farnoosh…I have one that sort of covers a few of yours I think. It is “don’t put off till tomorrow something you could do today”. I learnt a big lesson when I was around 30 yo and my grandmother died. She lived about 900kms away from me, and I made a great effort to go to the funeral – I was on a business trip at the time so it took more effort and cost than it usually would have to do so. And then, while I was up at the funeral, I suddenly realised that I had not planned to put myself out to go to her 80th birthday (she died only a week or so before it). I thought how silly it was to have made such an effort to go to the funeral but not to have thought to do so to see her for her birthday. She understood I was busy but … ! Ever since then I have tried to do things for the living – make the effort to go to the special birthday, visit them in hospital (as you say in #33), and so on, because you never know what may be around the corner.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi whisperinggums and thank you for the additions to the lessons. Thank you for sharing such a sad story – It makes me want to call my grandmother now. They are such special women and I seriously doubt she held anything against you as you say – they are the most forgiving and understanding kind. Acting silly is party of growing up and it seems you have made intense use of that hard lesson. Here’s hoping your friendships are bright and always there for you on your special occasions as it seems you are there for them on theirs!

  • http://www.momentumgathering.com Katie

    Farnoosh, you must be such a great friend for your friends to have in their lives. I think your words are so wise, kind, simple and meaningful that they could apply to almost any relationship. I’ve always struggled with friendship. As a child, I felt like a bit of an outsider. As an adult, I’ve often moved through life with very few friends. I sometimes found it easier to have male friends than female. Less drama. But now, as I settle into a life I love, I find that the friends I was really missing and cherished most are coming back and others that I feel I compromised my values around are drifting away and those relationships have run their course. But, I have always needed, wanted and hoped for friends as much as anything else in my life. I guess I feel less like an outsider now.

    I’m so happy to call you my friend.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Katie, I would be thrilled to call you a friend – and I hear what you say on friendships. Struggling is no fun and I have had more than my fair share. Opposite sex makes good friends too but there is something about having a very, very close same-sex friend. But believe me, all these lessons come from many a struggle and heart-break. Settling into a life you love is probably the first step in really knowing yourself and it’s no wonder your friendships are taking more permanent and meaningful shape too. And besides, being an outsider at one age makes for a more popular person at another age. Just be you! Friends will come and find you!

  • http://www.timelessinformation.com Armen Shirvanian

    Hi Farnoosh.

    I agree about #30 and being genuinely happy for friends. I am one of the few people that is this way. I can guarantee I am one of the few in this regard. Most are internally angry when someone they know well surpasses them in some way or is successful in some regard.

    #26 makes sense as you said it but I can’t look past an unpaid sentiment. I know I would do all in my power to repay a friend, so to not be treated that way by someone, I take it as though they feel like they tricked me or such.

    I like the general theme I get from this package of lessons. It is easy to see that you value your friends and treat them well. It is too bad we are arch-rivals AKA protagonist vs. antagonist AKA red vs. blue and so on.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Armen, you had better agree with all 36 or else! As you clearly say, we are rivals (how did this all start anyway? ;))!
      On loaning and borrowing, I can’t look past the unpaid money loans either – unless I do them with the intent of never getting repaid. I can loan other stuff and sometimes I want my friends to keep them but that’s why loaning money is hard for me even if they honestly forget. (borrowing for me is a dire circumstance and of necessity and immediately taken care of!)
      It’s wonderful to see you here, arch-rivals or not! :)

  • http://www.mindsetsuccesscoaching.com/blog Kim

    What a wonderful list to share Farnoosh!
    I can see myself having experienced many of these. #10 through #12 are so closely related and I’ve learned my lesson here in drawing healthy boundaries. A friendship is a two way street that involves having respect for each other.
    #18, #30, and #36 – Being supportive, happy for a friend, and loving are all closely related — it’s important to lift each other up as we do in this lovely personal development community :) Thank you for your Light!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Kim, so so nice to see you back here and I am delighted that you see some similarities in our roads down the friendship lane. I asked my husband why he thinks this post was so well received and he said (quite obviously) that everyone and anyone, any culture and any place in the world, can relate to this topic. Dear to all of us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  • martini

    I like #20.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Me too, Martini!

  • http://lselvon.com/ Louis

    Wow … I can relate to a lot of from this list. The one that I learned the hard way when choosing friends is this “Do not let your friends abuse your goodness”. Happened way too often with me. PS. I wish I could blog like you and write such passionate posts. Keep it up, and thanks for sharing.

    - Louis

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Louis, how nice to see you here, I think it’s your first comment here.
      I am sorry about those who abused your goodness – it speaks of how much you had to offer and now hopefully the lessons will prevent it in the future.
      Thank you for the compliments on my writing!! I shall keep it up for certain!

  • Tim

    Farnoosh:

    Thank you for articulating these thoughts on friendship. I’ve had a lot of friends move in and out of my life…though I’ve never had a friendship end with a formal goodbye. I think that’s a great thought and idea and I wish it would happen more…it would probably be easier for me than the un-returned emails and calls. To me friendship is like a flower…it needs care and attention…sometimes it blooms and sometimes it dies…but friendship is always a beautiful thing.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Tim, mine too – friends come and go, sometimes I try hard to hold on and sometimes I am sadly happy to see them go…..I like a clean break and leaving things hanging is just not fun so that was why I put the one about goodbyes. Great analogy and very nice to hear your thoughts here, thank you!

  • http://www.alternaview.com Sibyl – alternaview

    Farnoosh: Great friendships are really one of the most important things in life. I like that picture and can see why you have held on to it for so long. The list of advice you gave was great. I especially thought what you said about learning to be able to ready your friends was so important. I think we know we really have a great relationship when we are so tuned in to our friends that we know what they need at any given time. A great friend is able to really offer the best support and when friends are tuned in to each other, that is when you can really see the beauty of the relationship. Thanks for sharing all these tips. I must admit I need to work on some of them a little more … returning phone calls quickly is definitely something I could get better at.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Sibyl, I can’t agree more – if you are in sync with your friends’ thoughts and feelings, you just know what they need at various points in time – and like any other relationship, it works so well! Don’t worry, I am still working on mine too and sometimes, making a list is the first step to moving towards betterment :)! Thanks for your kind comment!

  • Clearly Composed

    This is such a lovely post. I can’t think of a sweeter way to honor the friendships in our life than reading this and taking it to heart. You mixed practical advice with that certain magic that makes friendship what it is.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi there, how nice to see a new face here! And thank you for your sweet compliment. Please spread it within your circle of friends. Here’s hoping that magic of friendship continues to bring both of us happiness in life!

  • Joy

    Hi Farnoosh,
    I love this list! I would add, be a friend to myself as I am to others…when I understand, know, and accept myself I can do the same for others…
    Friendships may be so very tricky when we impose “rules “on them…I am trying to teach my young children how to negotiate friendships throughout elementary school…it’s a fine balance between following and protecting your heart…I follow mine, but I certainly want to protect theirs:)
    As far as my friendships, I learn from each and every person, so those that are no longer physically connected with me are with me in Spirit as I keep moving forward on my path…I love the Energy of people so I celebrate new friendships, cultivate “old” friendships..and am grateful for each one…

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Joy, thank you for adding to the list. As you may have read above, with all the great lessons others added, I lost count but not value of what everyone is saying! Rules are hard and fast, I think of these as guidelines. And to teach kids about friendship is to do them a favor they can never fully comprehend til they are grown up! Learning from our friends, I don’t think I mentioned that one explicitly, and remembering those that we have lost, oh that I do all the time but thank you for articulating it better than me.

  • S. Ali Myers – Soulful Body & Mind

    Farnoosh,

    First off, I love your name!

    This is a valid post. It is hard to maintain TRUE friendship. When you do establish a connection, it is important to nurture it. We have to look at our friendships as children. The more we nurture & support it, the better it will grow.

    Personally, #4 (be on time) is one of my biggest pet peeves. I have friends now, who are annoyed by my over-emphasis of timeliness. Oh well, they never complain when I’M on time though!

    - Ali

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Ali,
      Punctuality gets to me too. If it doesn’t seem to be important to others, it may be time to either continuously trick them about the time they need to be at a place (way too much effort) or else find a way to relay to them the urgency of this habit. There is a joke where someone is late to an appointment and when he gets there, he says to the other waiting for him, ” I am so sorry but traffic was awful!” and the other says, “Do you think I got here by chartering a plane?” – which renders all excuses of tardiness , except the real emergency ones, rather null!
      Thanks for being here and for your first comment. Please come back anytime!

  • Michael Yanakiev

    Farnoosh: This is an incredible list ! I am very impressed by your passion and deep understanding of human nature. There are four possible quotes to add:
    “The best time to make friends is before you need them.” ~Ethel Barrymore
    “If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair.” ~Samuel Johnson
    “Probably no man ever had a friend that he did not dislike a little.” ~E.W. Howe
    “Friends are relatives you make for yourself.” ~Eustache Deschamps

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Michael, not as incredible as these beautiful quotes. Thank you so much…..I have heard only the first one. Really, sweet addition to our list. Many thanks for being such a loyal reader and ever so poetic in your comments!

  • Matthew Needham

    Farnoosh,

    What really great ‘rules’ to live by. Thanks for sharing these things. I particularly like number 32. Too many people spend their lives worrying about what their friends of doing instead of worrying about things affecting themselves.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Matthew, thank you! Comparing ourselves to others, that’s such a pitfall – I have certainly done it only to regret it later. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I hope to see you here again more in the future!

  • Bill May

    I’m insanely jealous of how widely successful it’s/you’ve been…. ;^)

    What a can of (gummy) worms you have opened! Ya gotta love how this positive topic may very well be more popular than dirty laundry in the news like, say, the BP oil leak in the Gulf. Thanks for getting the dialog started and sharing your thoughts.

    I’ll toss out another concept on the friendship topic for ya: the “theatre of one’s life.” The idea is that you have this theatre and friends (and family) are seated in it — you may well want them all there, but you choose who gets your front row (those with whom you enjoy regular and close contact) and those you are in the back row (you want them in your life but can only take so much of them).

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Bill, what on earth are you jealous of my dear friend! I am sharing the success after painful lessons along the way ;)!
      Yes I can see this caused a lovely uproar and I hope it reaches the end of the earth and back with my message – I really do!
      Mmmm! A theater of one’s life – I do love plays with an unusual passion and you don’t have to twist my arm to make me either take a seat or play a central role. Lovely analogy and very authentic, it is thus so very you!
      Thanks for your comment. Do this often, will you? :)!

      • Billy May

        (I was, surprise surprise, kidding about jealous thing…. ya know, slipping it in cuz that’s precisely what your rules say not to do….. I don’t know, I laughed when typing it….. ;^)

        Here’s a more complete and eloquent description of one’s theatre/theater:

        Life is a theater – Invite your audience carefully. Not everyone is healthy enough to have a front row seat in our lives. There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you let go, or at least minimize, your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere relationships/friendships.

        Observe the relationships around you. Pay attention. Which ones lift and which ones lean? Which ones encourage and which ones discourage? Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill? When you leave certain people, do you feel better or feel worse? Which ones always have drama or don’t really understand, know or appreciate you?

        The more you seek quality, respect, growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the FRONT ROW and who should be moved to the balcony of your life. You cannot change the people around you…but you can change the people you are around.

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Bill, I knew you’d be back once you start talking and it’ll take an act of a ‘theater director’ to put you on the back row ;)!
          Just teasing – thank you for articulating the theater of life so much better.I am subscribing and thinking mentally who would be present in my “play”. It is actually giving me a desire to go see a Shakespeare play, a lovely but unintended outcome of the good analogy that you made!
          Thank you again!

  • Rebekah Smith

    Farnoosh,
    Letting your comments sink in afforded me the pleasure of reading and enjoying everyone else’s responses here, too, what a bonus.
    I’m struck by 1) your model of capable, happy people whose exchanges and explorations both give and accept; so many problems between people are caused by disability that demands and punishes. 2) Especially in a society that invests so much hope of happiness in Choice, it’s good to be reminded that care we devote to others can give far, far more than a rapid, selective, shopper’s evaluation could ever predict.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Rebekah,
      I love your comments whenever they arrive and I think with the popularity of this post, you had a bit of work to do to get down here. Bravissimo (as my aunt says!). Care can go such a long way and can be articulated in so many ways. You know how to be a wonderful friend, I know this, so most of this may have been reflection for you on the other side’s friendship perhaps. I hope that your life is always filled with true and loving friends but even if not, I know you can protect yourself against the lesser choices! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on a subject dear to my heart!

  • http://www.happinessandwisdom.com HappinessandWisdom

    Keep Your Promises – I think this is the foundation for many of these. In doing so, you show that you can be relied upon – very important.
    I also like your intuition comment – a great rule to live by…..always.
    Thank you.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hey there, yes promises are a big one…..but intuition is even a bigger one I think especially to keep us at a safe distance when need be. Happy that you enjoyed the lessons here and thank you for sharing your thoughts!!

  • http://justindupre.com Justin Dupre

    Farnoosh,

    Very useful lessons on building lasting friendships. Trust is the key in all relationship! It’s very important to respect and be yourself to others. I’ve had an experience when lending money to a friend before.. I lose both money and friend. Being on time and keeping promises can tell so much about a person. Thank you for sharing this nice lessons with us!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Justin, trust is the heart and soul of it – yes indeed! And on lending money, I hear you – it’s just way too sensitive and awkward and well, unfortunately it cost you in more than one way! Nice to see you here and thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      • Bill “Finance” May

        I’ve a ton of random thoughts on this topic, but in general I’ll choose to disagree with the don’t-lend-money-to-friends “rule.” Sure, it’s easy and makes for no agonizing over it when someone asks, but good things in life are often hard, take some work and sometimes incur a penalty….. So, my quick thoughts…:
        - Do what YOUR heart/gut says is the right thing to do.
        - If I can help someone I will.
        - Lend money to friends like you may not get it back. If you can’t be content with that, then don’t lend it.
        - The quality/trust/situation of a friend of course comes into play here…
        - I kind of feel, I don’t know, honored that my friends would consider our relationship close enough to ask. Usually people are genuinely embarrassed to ask.
        - Kind of view it like a gift — ya know, the old better to give than receive.
        - Twice I’ve lent a chunk of money to folks who needed that extra bit to make the down payment on their new house… their DREAM. It felt awesome to help them with that. Once it came back very quickly and when they thought/said they would repay it. The other time it is slowly trickling in (for a year they couldn’t sell their first house as it was right when the economy tanked).
        - Sure, I’d like my money back, but don’t lend so much it breaks you if you don’t get it back.
        - Let’s face it, many/most of us are truly blessed/lucky with our situation in life. Sometimes it’s due to hard work, but I’ll contend more often than not we just happen to be born into the right family, able to go to good schools, not worry about having enough food, etc. Why not share our good fortune with others who are worthy but perhaps not as lucky?
        - No, I am not a schmuck who naively gives away money. My gut, I like to think, can tell a leech from a good soul who needs help. (One place I know I get taken advantage of is the corner “homeless”/”vet” folks. I usually give to them, knowing that, what, 90% of the time they don’t need it… But my heart feels good knowing – or at least thinking – of the 10% I did help in some small way.)

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Bill,
          Thank you for sharing your thoughts in detail on loaning and borrowing. I did not go into much detail but I also did not take a position on either not loaning or loaning – I simply warned that you should be ware. It is a very personal topic and your examples bring it to great light. We must be ok to part with the loan and not let it affect friendship! Your examples show your devotion as a friend and your kindness toward society in general and I am very happy you shared them with us. Thank you!

  • http://www.unlimitedchoice.org/blog Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice

    One tip I’d like to throw in there is do what my friends and I do. We have a poker night every week. No matter how busy we all get we all do our best to make time for this one night of the week. We’ve kept it going for over 7 years and through that whole time it’s brought us closer together and made us stronger. It doesn’t have to be poker but any regular excuse for a fun night of meeting up and challenging each other!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Amit, my husband loves poker so I think knowing him and knowing a bit more about how guy-guy friendships work vs. girl-girl friendships, I must say that your routine is a brilliant insurance for making sure the quality time is spent among good friends, come hell or high water in your lives!!! I love the sense of commitment and it speaks to the quality of your friendships no doubt. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

  • http://blog.self-improvement-saga.com/ Nea | Self Improvement Saga

    This is a wonderful post. I’ve always valued friendship so much and I love the suggestions you’ve given here. I have very few close friends, but I truly believe in showing my love and dedication to those that I am blessed to have. Thanks for this article Farnoosh.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Nea, I am so happy to see you here and happier still that you liked this post. Few close friends are more than enough in life if they are true friends. You are very welcome and hope to see you again!

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  • Abbas Yari

    Dear Farnoosh,
    I wish I had found Prolific Living earlier, every day I anxiously review it and feel the world is beautiful and nice, so I can really breathe!
    I find the light, the color and future in your site and when I’m here “I am feeling well.”
    I really thank you very much and am happy to have the chance of finding you and your friends for travel to Paradise…

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Abbas,
      Well you found us now and you can enjoy it indefinitely so no regrets. I am very happy that the message here in Prolific Living does so much for you. Thank you for your comment and feel free to share the site with your friends and family too!

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  • http://google-n-i-share-a-birthday.blogspot.com Vidya Sury, freelance writer, blogger

    I came here from a link in your latest post – and after reading your 36 and the rest of the comments, I feel so blessed that I actually have real friends in my life. I believe that friendship should be unconditional, since it is a soul-mate kind of relationship – and I have no rules for my friends. Some people might disapprove of this, but then, each one has a different take on life. Whatever, it has kept those true friends around me – and close to me for over three decades, and am loving it. I love your site and eagerly look forward to updates because they’re so feel-good! Thank you, Farnoosh.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Vidya, then welcome!
      Blessed is the best way to describe it because true friendships are pure joy! Good for you. For true friends, I think it’s past having rules because you are so close, almost like family… you can do no wrong to each other… in a way, it may be setting you up for a heartache someday but doubtful and in any case, it’s so much easier to have your outlook on them. So hold on tight to those dear friends and here’s hoping you and I make a new friendship too. Thanks for the loving words for the site. It welcomes you warmly.

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  • Hassan Tanvir

    Very helpful lessons. I wish I had read this before..
    True friends are gift of God. I had one, but unfortunately couldn’t make it and lost 6 months ago. Trust, care and respect are essential in lasting friendships. Don’t consider your true friend just an other brick in the wall. Lucky are the ones who find such friends and keep them.
    Hope everyone is successful in building lasting friendships