1. People & Relationships

5 Lessons From Dogs About Friendship

How Your Furry Friends Can Help You Be a Better Friend

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Dogs are wonderful companions all their own, but they can also help transform your life so that you're more accepting of new friendships. Just by observing a few typical dog behaviors, you should be able to pick up a few tips on having better relationships with your pals.

1. Prefer Human Contact

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Dogs are pack animals, so in terms of pet ownership, your dog will prefer to stay with you rather than somewhere alone.

Think about how this concept applies to friendship. People today are getting more and more used to spending time on social networking, email, and text, rather than just getting together in person. While all methods of communication are good, there is nothing like seeing your friend and hearing their voice. With good friends, sometimes a look explains everything, and you can only get this when you're together hanging out in person.

2. Not Afraid to Show Emotion

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let's face it, dogs never hide their feelings. When they like something, their tails wag, they bark, and they let you know in no uncertain terms what they enjoy doing most, whether it is chasing a ball, going for a walk, or getting a treat.

For people, it's harder to be open with your emotions, because chances are you've been hurt in the past. Either that, or you're afraid of what people think. But in order to truly find a friend you're compatible with, you'll need to let go of your fears and put trust into your friends. And as far being afraid of what people think? Everyone has this fear at some point in their lives because we just want to be liked.

However, the reality is that you'll never make everyone you meet happy one-hundred percent of the time, so it's a losing battle. If your friends and family think you're great, put aside the need to be liked by everyone.

3. Live in the Moment

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Dogs don't hold grudges. They don't hang on to what someone said years ago. When one of them plays too rough, the other dog lets them know immediately by letting out a yelp. The two dogs make up and instantly start playing again.

Friends do hold grudges, however. They say they forgive when they really don't. They say things are fine when they are anything but. Why do people do this?

Sometimes we avoid conflict because we think we are keeping the peace. In reality, arguing in a healthy way is always better for a relationship than trying to bottle your frustrations. If you care about your friendship, talk to your pal when something is wrong.

4. Happy to See You

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Image courtesy of diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dogs wait for you to come home and are so happy to see you again that they practically do a happy dance when you walk through the door.

Friends, on the other hand, are sometimes so busy that even hearing from a friend becomes an unwelcome interruption. Rather than avoid calls or emails, make a point to talk to friends on a regular basis. Never let other obligations get in the way of nurturing your friendship. It's all too easy to let months slip by without talking to your pals, and this can leave you both feeling unconnected.

5. Concerned When You Are Sad

When a dog's owner is upset, the pet usually won't leave their side. They give them a lick on the face, they snuggle up next to them, and they show empathetic behavior. They don't need to fake it, because it's what they really feel.

In friendship, however, there are times when we do need to "fake it" when it comes to making our friends feel better. You might have a friend that saps your energy or has problems that seem small compared to yours. Showing compassion might be a challenge in these cases. While you should never be fake, you should try your best to see things from your friend's point of view. Sometimes your pal thinks it's the end of the world when you know their problems are actually very small. Rather than lecturing them, try some gentle honesty combined with empathy. Let them know you care about them. In the end, that's all our friends are looking for sometimes.

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