5 Tips to Foster a Meaningful Friendship


A meaningful friendship is one of the most valued relationships you can have as a human being. Having acquaintances or superficial friends is nice, but not nearly as satisfying. The support, camaraderie and joy offered by a true companion is highly beneficial to your overall well-being. Take these five steps toward establishing a meaningful friendship.

Put In The Effort

You may have heard the saying, "marriage is work". While a friendship is not a marriage, a meaningful relationship requires a similar amount of energy to grow and sustain. Are you making your friendship a priority? You need to make sure you are giving the relationship the effort it deserves. 

Be Vulnerable

Vulnerability is what deepens a relationship. If you are willing to allow another person to see the real you, then your bond will reach another level. Being vulnerable can be anxiety-provoking, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. 

Communicate Regularly

Communication is to friendship like water is to a flower: without communication, a friendship will wither and die. Make sure you are letting your friend know what is going on in your life and how you are feeling about it. In addition, show interest and curiosity in what is happening in their lives. Remember, meaningful relationships are reciprocal. 

Little Things Can Mean A Lot

Grand gestures of friendship are certainly appreciated, but they do not mean as much as being there for someone on a regular basis. Showing your friend that you are continually involved builds trust within the relationship. Furthermore, consistent acts of appreciation will help nurture your connection.

Exhibit Empathy

Empathy is more than just putting yourself in someone else's shoes. It is letting that person know that you understand what they are experiencing. A friend is much more likely to trust you with their feelings if they feel comfortable and understood. 

Worthwhile friendships are not easily formed. They require ongoing effort and communication, emotional openness, and empathy. Once established, however, they are invaluable. In fact, multiple research studies suggest that friendships are good for your physical and psychological health. Apply these five suggestions to help you on a path toward a meaningful friendship. 

Michele Burstein, LMSW