Five tips for good friendships

Only the very best friends stick by us our whole lives. Wolfgang Krüger is a friendship researcher and explains what makes good friendships, how to maintain them and when it is time to end them.

Text: Miriam Suter; photo: iStock

What makes a good friendship?

Four things according to Krüger: Would you ring them if you received bad news from your doctor? Would you tell them if you won CHF 30 million on the lottery? Would you tell them if you were unhappy in your marriage and even considering cheating on your partner? And does this person completely support you in your biggest dreams in life? “Good friends offer unconditional support without judgement”, says Krüger.

How to deal with conflicts?

Even best friends argue from time to time. If disagreements are to end peacefully, Krüger explains that it’s important to also mention what you like about your friendship. “You could say, for example: ‘Karin, I enjoy spending time with you and think you’re wonderful, but the fact that you’re always half an hour late drives me up the wall’.” And at the end of the conversation, you should ask yourself how you want to handle things in the future.

When should you end a friendship?

If you no longer want to invite the person to your birthday party or don’t pick up the phone when they call, it’s high time that you called time on the friendship. Of course every friendship goes through difficult times. “But it is perhaps time to end a friendship when you feel worse after having spoken to your friend.” And it may be time to rethink or end relationships with friends who do nothing but criticise and use you.

What should I do if a friend wants to end our friendship?

That’s why Krüger recommends asking yourself honestly how much you value the friendship: “Often you can tell beforehand that something isn’t really right anymore.” In most cases, your gut instinct will be consistent with your decision to end a friendship – and you are possibly even relieved that the other person has essentially done the unpleasant stuff for you.

How do you connect with other people if you are shy?

Krüger says you should write down all the things you have done well every evening. Over the course of 100 days this will increase your self-confidence and you will feel more confident approaching other people.