Bad friendships go in one direction only. One person does all the giving, while the other only takes. Nothing about that spells friendship.
To avoid this toxic situation, use the "tennis match" approach in a new friendship. Make an offer or invitation, and then wait for your friend to invite you in return. If you keep things balanced and don't do all the work, you have a better chance of building a balanced, sustainable friendship.
The balancing act
You know when someone is on your side. A friend is someone who has your back even when she doesn't agree with you. He'll speak up when he needs to and do so in a respectful and loving way -- and this deserves your gratitude. On the flip side, if you spend more than 25 percent of your time unhappy with someone, it's time to reevaluate the relationship.
Know yourself, know your friend
The best place to start on the path of true friendship is your own heart. Think about the traits you like in yourself; evaluate your own character. When you know how to recognize truthfulness, trustworthiness, courage, kindness, patience and more in yourself, you are then more skilled in recognizing them in friends, and in all partners in your life.
4 tips for healthy friendship
To have a good friend, you must be a good friend:
- Don't do too much. "Buying" people doesn't work for long.
- Don't be flaky. It will not attract or keep friends. Be responsible and keep your dates.
- Don't drop a date with a friend because a man asks you out. You'll lose the respect of both.
- Don't be too needy. Wanting all the attention drives potential friends away. Learn to listen as well as talk.
Friendship is one of life's most precious gifts. Give and receive in equal measure, and you'll enjoy the benefits of a healthy, consciously maintained friendship.