Hello guys! At the end of 12 years of school, I’ve made quite a few good friends, and sadly, lost some of them. Whether it was because of some mistake on either side, or because we just drifted apart, realising that someone you always thought of as a friend is no longer there for you is always painful.

What’s more, it can usually be avoided if you pay attention to your friendship and nurture it by avoiding some of these common slip-ups. Read on how you can make and keep friends for a long time, if not a lifetime.

Letting in on a secret

So let’s assume your super best friend Annie seems really upset about something. You naturally bug her about it till she concedes that she’s in trouble for her bad grades. She’s really depressed about them, and you cross your heart and swear that her secret’s safe with you. After all, why on earth would you leak this personal news out to the rest of the school? Surely you stand nothing to gain by it…

Or maybe you do. That bit of information could come in handy when you’re striking up a conversation with the girl in front of you in the cafeteria line, or just comforting your other friends by telling them that there is someone else in the class too who has poor grades. Before you know it, a valuable secret is out in the open and your trusting friend will not appreciate the gesture.

It always helps to think before you talk about people who are not present. You might end up divulging personal secrets and even backbiting without ever meaning to. Many a close friendships have suffered the blows of betrayal and not recovered.

Saying ‘No’ too many times

Your best friend Annie wants to go play badminton after class but you absolutely hate sports. She naturally asks you first to play with her but you simply have to turn her down because you can’t stand any exercise. No problem, she can play with Marium this once.

Now Annie wants to go shopping after school (phew, no wonder her grades got where they are) and she’s taking it for granted that you will tag along. You remind her that you have a quiz tomorrow. She looks blank for a while then says, “Okay.”

It’s night time, you’ve finished preparing and Annie wants to chat with you on the phone. But you’d much rather eat while watching your favourite TV show. “Annie,” you say, “I just can’t”.

Too much turning down is definitely bad for a friendship. All that you as friends have to account for is the time you spend together and what it means to you. If you start sending out vibes that a box with pictures is more interesting than your friend, you can expect her to be just a bit sore about it.

Negativity

Your friend Annie is not great at singing or acting, and her grades are looking up anytime soon. In fact, the only thing you secretly agree she is good at is drawing and painting. She’s got — how do you put it — the magic touch so talked about in art circles. And I think it’s safe to assume that by now, Annie herself is aware that this is the only arena where she can shine victorious.

So Annie invites you to her place to check out her latest painting and have lunch while at it. While you can’t draw a crooked line to save your life, you ought to dance and sing praises of her wonderful talent.

Instead you just eat lunch, watch TV and leave. You completely forget to admire her work and tell her what an extraordinary girl she is. This spells ‘bad friend’ all over.

Everyone expects close friends to pull their leg once in a while, but the one who ends up as a close friend is the one who can jump off the gag-train when it’s appropriate and express some sincerity. An outright, straightforward moment of closure where you appreciate your friend and make her feel special at the same time is what can work wonders for a friendship.

Not trusting

So Annie is still cradling wounds you left her with at the lunch party. She can’t work on her assignment because her laptop broke down, and she’s come over to use yours. You’re not quite okay with that. You just got a new one, and you’re pretty sure she’ll do something inconsiderate, like tap the keys too hard or jab her fingers on the spotless screen.

So you refuse, making as you do, a flawless excuse. Or so you think. Being betrayed and disappointed as she is by you, she doesn’t expect this outright refusal.

Not being able to display trust in your friends is what most shakes their confidence in your relationship. Nobody likes to be refused, specially your friends who think their request is reasonable and fully expect you to cooperate. A rejection can make a very robust statement about your priorities and how their interest in particular is not one of them. Rather than refusing to let her even get a glimphs of your laptop, you can tell her that your father is very strict about the usage of the laptop and you will help her by typing her assignment yourself while she sat beside you can guided you.

Not lending a shoulder

So after all the things you’ve done to Annie by now, it’s no surprise you two are not on very good terms anymore. You hear through a friend that she is having family trouble, and one day you find her with two other girls. She is distraught and there are tear stains on her cheeks. One of the girls is patting her on the back while the other is trying to make her talk. You, as her once-super-best-friend know that that’s no way to comfort Annie.

What will you do? Will you stand there rigid and detached, uncomfortable, but confident that you have been in the right all along? Or will you salvage the remains of your relationship and build up on it as grandiose a love as there once was?

Here is a question of how important Annie really is to you. Good friendship eventually boils down to care and attention, as long as the two aren’t lacking, nothing can break the bond you share. Hence true friends are unquestionably valuable assets; when life deals you blows, it is their kindness and their concern that envelops you and helps you recuperate.

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