How to meet new friends and nurture friendships, and how to know when it's over

DIY --

How to meet new friends and nurture friendships, and how to know when it's over

November 27, 2007|By SALLY NEWLIN / Pulse Contributor

There are many relationships in life - friendships, romantic relationships, family relationships, student-teacher relationships, employer-worker relationships and many others.

Sometimes, relationships begin by chance: Two people meet, like each other and begin a friendship or romance. Sometimes, one person sets out to get to know someone else. But whether a relationship starts by chance or design, maintaining a strong, healthy relationship takes work.

First step: talk

The first step in making relationships with other people is to get to know them. Start talking to them, even if they're not interested in the same things you are. Most people don't talk to other people who are different from them, because they automatically think they're too different, and there's no way they can become friends with that person. Not true. If you make the effort and say "hello" to them, then it's easy and a relationship could start. It's not guranteed, but it's worth a shot.


Need something to talk about? You could start off with a comment about something the other person is wearing or doing, such as "Oh is that a Halo T-shirt you're wearing?" or "I really hate this class." Bam! A conversation starts, and who knows, maybe a friendship begins, as well.

It goes with family, as well. When you meet new family members or get together with relatives you haven't seen in months or years, you might not know what to say. Just do the same thing as you do with any other person - say "hello" and find things to talk about.

Finding a romance

Now for the relationship everyone wants help with - romantic relationships. These are the most difficult to create, because a lot of people are shy or afraid of rejection. In short, they have low self-confidence.

Here's my advice: First, become friends with the person you have a crush on. Hang out with them. Get to know them a little more, so you'll be sure you like them for both physical appearance and how they are on the inside. Because, honestly, some people who look attractive on the outside can be ugly on the inside.

When you know your love interest pretty well and you're ready, sit down with him or her away from others and say something like "I really have feelings for you, and I have for a long time. Can we go out?" If the other person says "yes," then hooray! You have a new sweetheart.

And if they say "no," don't panic. No one likes to be rejected. Grieve and get all emo, if you need to - there's nothing wrong with that. But eventually, let go of it and try again. Search for a new romantic interest. There are a lot of people looking for love. Some might be already looking your way.

How to keep it together

Now let's talk about how to keep these relationships together. There are a few basics for maintaining relationships. The main thing is respect. Show friends, relatives, boyfriends and other people respect, and they will usually show you the same thing in return.

Never spread rumors about people in your relationships for any reason. Period. You will most likely lose a friend and make an enemy. If a problem comes up, talk to your friend calmly about it when you are alone. That goes for any relationship.

Honesty also plays a big role in relationships. Always be honest with people. Tell them the truth, but don't go overboard. For example, if your friend asks you, "Am I fat?" you should say "Yes, but I like you the way you are" or "No, you aren't." Don't ever say something like "Yeah, you're huge." That'll just hurt your friend's feelings.

Also, don't lead a friend on. If you have a problem with them, tell them so. Say it like "You know I don't like it when you do that," not "I hate you! Go away!" It's better to tell someone the truth and risk hurting a friend than to suppress your feelings. Or, worse, to tell Friend B about a problem with Friend A, and then Friend B blabs, and eventually Friend A hears about it through the grapevine and gets angry.

And when it's over, it's over

Most relationships are not permanent. Maybe you were friends in third grade, but in middle school, you and your friend drift apart. Maybe the boy or girl you thought was your soul mate is actually shallow and self-centered. How do you know when a relationship is over or needs to be over?

Well, there are many factors to consider. The first is when a person starts disrespecting you by calling you names or talking down to you. If you realize your boyfriend or girlfriend only loves you for your body and not for your personality, it's time to think again. Cheating on you or hitting you are red flags - get out! No one deserves to be hit or treated like dirt.

All relationships go through rough times, and disagreeing is normal. Talk with them about their behavior - calmly and privately, so you can come to an understanding. If that still doesn't work, end the relationship. Like I said earlier, you don't need a "friend" who's going to treat you badly.

Sometimes, relationships just seem to happen. Sometimes, they don't. Relationships get better when people work together to respect and understand each other instead of resorting to backbiting or anger.

Because everyone wants a friend to call their own.

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