I have a number of people with whom I am very close. There are a lot of things which are important to keeping friendships alive over a long period – kindness and empathy being two of the biggest – but ultimately I feel that communication is the most important thing for long-lasting relationships of any kind.
I always tell my friends what I think and, most often, this takes the form of complimenting and praising them. It does, however, occasionally mean that I have to raise something that I’m unhappy with. The majority of the time, there’ll be a resolution after a brief discussion. My friends also have no trouble with communicating their thoughts directly to me (or so it appears from my perspective.)
If there is ever a problem, it’s discussed, resolved and forgotten. If I speak to somebody about a problem I have which relates to them, I’ll forget about it almost as soon as I’ve discussed it with them. The case is closed and no longer worthy of any thought or discussion.
I feel like this is a normal and healthy way to manage the relationships in your life, but in recent times I’ve found that this is not as common as I thought. I trust all of my friends entirely to communicate any difficulties and if they aren’t directly telling me something, I never really worry that there’s something eating at them. I also don’t often concern myself with the thought that an ‘ignored’ message on social media really means anything.
I always like to plant the seeds for this dynamic as early as possible – let people know that I will always be open with them and encourage them to be the same with me. It may be naive, but I trust my friends to do this and it honestly saves me from a great deal of anxiety. It’s just a whole area of worry for some people that doesn’t bother me (not that it didn’t worry me back in my teenage days) but it’s an easy thing to move on from and it’s important for your general wellbeing to try and do this too.