Lesley Feng

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How to maintain a good relationship with friends?

I have to admit that I just can't do well in maintaining friendship. Most of my friends lost connection with me or left me gradually. I'm trying to save some especially precious friends, but I don't know how to do it.
So, can you give me some advice?

  • Dec 9 2011: Sometimes its not up to you. You just have to be sure you are making everything with a good heart, good intentions, if you see that you are about to make an action or say something which has a negative background or feeling (like envy, anger, etc.), retain it for the sake of your partner. That is all you can do on your behalf of the relationship. If the other person rejects you because, for example, he perceived a choice you made, which as I said was done with deep root good intentions, as a bad choice there is nothing you can do. Truth and good heart will bring you good and lasting friends.
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      Dec 11 2011: Thanks, good intention is the key element in friendship and probably sometimes I show my good intention in a weird way??? I think the most puzzled thing which I can't figure out is that how to keep in touch with friends, maybe I'm not a person who can handle very well the intimacy with people, not just friends.
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    Dec 19 2011: Hello Lesley, I enjoy thinking about issues of truth, kindness and love. Our relationships are all of those. I have traveled the country, including Hawaii and Alaska, due to my job. I work in tele-communications and I am needed to splice fiber-optic cable anywhere the need arises. So many of the lessons I have learned about my relationships have been necessary. Some of my greatest memories include people that I may have spent less than one year with, although, they are on my mind very often. This has also given me a very healthy attitude about the way I spend my time with them when we are together, I cherish my time with the ones I care about, andt that has made it easy for me not to spend my time with people who don't value the relationship like I do.
    I understand the desire to be surrounded by friends daily, and I have felt that way in the past, too. Something that helped me to put that in perspective were the words from a sincere and meaningful friend I have in Michigan. Mr Waters is very successful in his relationships, especially with his wife and daughter, and he was the president of a hospital with many obligations to his community. He told me because of my truthfulness and compassion that I was worthy, he advised me to always be aware of the circle of friends or associations that I maintained, always reminding me; "If there is not someone at your table, or within your group, that you respect and desire to learn from, then I was at the wrong table to advance my learning and growing in this life." He never meant anything disrespectful toward the ones I was with, they were good in proper times. But, If I was going to be in the right place at the right time, later on in my life, then I should respect his words and always keep a challenge for growth in front of me. We must live today, and trust tomorrow. All of our friendships may not last a lifetime, but the ones you have will be the ones you need. Thanks for sharing
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    Dec 11 2011: Being truthful is the only prerequisite, in my opinion. If that doesn't work, you should seek new friends.

    Worthy companionship can be painful and lonely.

    But it is so worth it!
    I wish for you peace and contentment in your endeavor.
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      Dec 12 2011: Since we would suffer from a worthy compaionship, so what's the meaning of friendship?
      It seems we can't relieve our sorrowness with friends, as many people supposed, from this worthy companionship.
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        Dec 12 2011: I think Dogen is suggesting to me that "worthy companions" are few, and far between. In the time it takes to secure worthy companions I may suffer from the pain of lonliness, but that I should endure, when the companionship I seek, finally arrives, it will be worth so much more than the pain of lonliness that I endured to have finally acquired that friendship which I sought so desperately. In fact, this quote has had such an impact in my own personal life that I continue to this day to appreciate the moments I spend alone, only now I am not lonely, just alone, for a little piece of time. My friends that I have acquired are exactly what I need, while the friends I do not have keep all their drama to themselves. I no longer solicit my self by trading my expectations of what I believe I want in friendship because I was unable to bear the aloneness of waiting for the cherished ones.Expect the best for yourself, if your friends are not as honest, compassionate, or as motivated as you to become something you are able to love, then I would spend time reflecting on Dogen's advice until it does make sense. I did not understand it for many years after reading it in a book called: Zen and the Pursuit of Happiness by Chris Prentiss, but I continued to ponder these words because they truly seemed to be speaking, not only to me, but to several of my associations I had become involved in. Today, I am knowing myself much better, I m reaching some of the goals I was only speaking of before, and I am loving myself better, to the point of imposing even more strict character requirements of the people i spend time with, including family. My confidence in what I want for my life is increasing expotentially as I practise what I believe.For me, Dogen's message has proven to be helpful and true. I wish for you, Lesley, the best. You are worthy.
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          Dec 14 2011: Thanks a lot, Tim.
          I believe you have owned some friends who are ture friends for you. Your explaination is quite meaningful. In China, we have a motto: The friendship between men of virtue is light like water, yet affectionate; the friendship between men without virtue is sweet like wine, yet easily broken. Many people regard it as a rule for them to make friends. And as I become more mature, I find it is wise to follow this rule when I deal with many complicated social relationships. However, I never wanna abide by this rule in friendship, because I think friends should be intimate and interdependent.
          You mentioned that before really getting a true friend we will suffer, it stimulate my deep thinking. Maybe all what I have experiened in my unsuccessful friendship can be called a training for myself? Maybe finally those people who still keep in touch with me are friends I should cherished?
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    Dec 9 2011: Lesley, you pose a question. Most people would ask you: what are you looking to get out a relationship that you are not currently getting

    Instead, I think the way to keep friends is to focus on what you are trying GIVE rather than get out of it. Serving others is the key to any lasting relationships.

    Wenceslao has good point as well.
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      Dec 11 2011: I know but I can't require my friends in return. And I feel I have tried many ways to show how much I value them, but maybe they just don't notice that.
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    Dec 13 2011: By being honest with them.
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      Dec 14 2011: Does that mean I should espress all my feelings to them, no matter if my expression may hurt them, or embarrass them?
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        Dec 16 2011: Hello Lesley, I think there is a good chance that the friends who stay in touch are likely to be the cherished ones, time will help bring about the distinction. In the meantime, you have valuable insight, this is probably foundational training helping you to understand what is necessary in your own associations. It is important to familiarise yourself with new relationships and critique them for the plus and minus effect they have on your disposition, how they make you feel, do they help bring out the best in you, etc., My friends and associations should share in my passions, not only respecting the issues important to me, but also, not involving themselves in actions or behaviors that I are unacceptable to me. I have found when I am in-synch or in step with like-minded hearts and minds I am much stronger and more confident to explore my personal path.
        With my friends, I only express all my feelings to them when it will save someone from being hurt, me, them, or another. Other issues seem to work out, and sometimes people need to continue in their walk until they see new direction. Our expressions may sometimes cause them to become sworn to a doctrine even they are not comfortable with but now remain so rather than be told its not right. I try to ask myself if what I am about to say is really going to help us or save someone else. And sometimes my opinions are just that, opinions. Maybe later if I remain quiet and no one is being harmed, it might be me that changes my own mind, or ways.
        I would never say anything to hurt or embarrass anyone, unless I am sure they know it is coming from my heart with respect and love. And then, I will be very specific about the time, place, and approach.
        I think you have been a cherished friend more then you know. Some of the relationships in our lives are momentary, not all of them last a lifetime physically, but, they will have an everlasting imprint.
        This is a great conversation. many good thoughts, thanks
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          Dec 19 2011: Hi, Tim, I find your thoughts are really illuminating for me. I've never thought that friendship can be momentary as well as valuable in a certain period of time. All I thought before is that I want keep my friends around me all the time. I've never thought that they may leave me sometime but have an everlasting imprint. Maybe I'm too possesive, I want my friends alway cherish me as much asI cherish them, because I believe that the two sides should keep balance in the relationship. If the balance is broken, the relationship will be an end.
          Now I sort of understand the reason why some of my cherished friends behaving indifferent to me, and I think I may sometime hurt them in the same way. Many times I told myself that I should give them a call or something, but many times I just forgort it and didn't want to repay that. I think maybe I'm wrong in doing that.
          Actually the most frightening thing for me is that all of my friendships won't last a lifetime, and at the end I have no frinds to share memories at all. And all what I can do is just memorizing past alone.
          Tim, thanks for your kindness in replying me everytime.