Psychosocial Health

Let us become friends

Good interpersonal relationships bring us joy, comfort and hope, while friendlessness may make us sad, lonely, and frustrated. To live a joyful life, you need the appropriate social skills to help you get along with people harmoniously and to gain friendship. Therefore, you need to achieve the following:

(1) Understand yourself

The first step in gaining friendship is to have a good understanding of yourself. You can then make good use of your strengths and improve your weaknesses.

The simplest way to have a better understanding of yourself is to listen to the comments made by people you trust. Furthermore, you may reflect on yourself by asking if you would like to get along with people who behave like you. You may also read more, think more and participate more in social activities, so as to cultivate your interests and talents.

(2) Accept yourself

People who have low acceptance of the self tend to find it difficult to admit and face their weaknesses. They may hate people that look better than them.

Accepting ourselves means accepting our uniqueness, putting effort into overcoming the weaknesses and keeping up our strengths. The methods include:

  • setting realistic and achievable goals to improve ourselves step by step
  • acknowledging that everyone is unique, possessing strengths and weaknesses
  • preventing unnecessary comparison with others
  • recording good deeds, giving ourselves a hearty cheer and building up a positive self-image

(3) Accept other people

"My friend is not perfect nor am I, so we suit each other admirably." (Alexander Pope)

To increase the capacity to bear with other people's shortcomings, you can try the following :

  • get along with people sincerely and learn to respect others
  • pay concern to others actively and offer help readily
  • try to understand reasons behind others’ behaviours and sympathise with people
  • avoid judging others too early so as to prevent misunderstanding
  • do not expect too much from others because no one is perfect
  • learn to appreciate people's strength and avoid focusing on their faults only
  • pay more attention to and praise people's good deeds

(4) Be sensitive in social situations

This is the ability to recognise your own and others' emotions. To practise, you have to

  • listen to what people say
  • try to empathise with them
  • acknowledge their feelings
  • actively invite them to express themselves

(5) Social expression

This is the ability to express your opinion, standpoint or feeling verbally and nonverbally. To practise this, you have to:

  • express your views firmly and accurately
  • speak honestly, do not disguise or do not be shy
  • maintain appropriate tone and eye contact
  • remain rational and calm when you express emotions such as anger, discomfort or fear

Conclusion:

Human interaction and friendship building is a knowledge as well as an art. There is no simple formula nor end point to making friends. Through personal development and continuous learning, interpersonal relationships become our precious assets. What people bring us will then be happiness and pleasure, instead of burden, trouble and conflicts.

(Revised in April 2021)

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