5 ways to keep your friendships alive and well
"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
- Marcel Proust
I never used to look at my friendships as relationships per se. I always thought of them as, well, friends - that a relationship was with a partner that you solely shared intimacy with.
But, at the same time, I thought of friends as those who should care about me, be there for me whenever I needed them and always remain the same -- adapting and growing at the same rate as me *eye roll*
Although it wasn't my intention, I was inconsiderate. I would assume they should just be there (whatever that means, right?). On top of that, ready to agree with everything I said.
It's embarrassing just writing this ...
"Although it wasn't my intention, I was inconsiderate. I would assume they should just be there."
Even with me being receptive, it wasn't enough for them to feel comfortable telling me what they felt I needed to work on or give me advice even if I didn't want to hear it.
In short, I had to change my ways of thinking. I had to remind myself of how valuable and unique my friends were. Even though we were comfortable and knew we could talk about anything, I'd forget to focus more on the new and good going on in our lives rather than coming together to discuss the trials and tribulations.
I have been blessed to call some of the most beautiful souls my friends (really, family). And throughout this time, I've learn many important lessons. That's what I want to share the five ways I've concluded to keep your friendships healthy and cherished:
1 | They, too, are individuals
When we're growing up, we forget that people do change and with that because different sets of thoughts, feelings and emotions. You must accept that theirs may not be aligned with yours and that's okay.
2 | You must "check-in"
Just as you would in your relationship, "check-in" to see how they are really feeling and where their head is at the moment. Also make sure the focus is solely on them - put your phone, computer or whatever may cause you to lose focus out of sight.
I think once a month is a good starting point unless you know they may be going through a hard or trying time.
3 | Know their love language
"The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman is such a great way to discover what way your partner and/or friend prefers to be loved. For some of us, we already have a general idea of how to show our friends how much we love them but it never hurts to just ask!
4 | Get rid of expectations
They're going to hurt you, upset you and sometimes make you cry but that doesn't mean your relationship is shattered. Expecting them to be or act a certain way is - going back to my issue - being selfish. Now, if they're going a bit overboard and you're feeling more bad than good, well ... here's where my next tip comes in.
5 | Communicate
Just like any relationship, communication truly is key. Make sure you're communicating how you feel ... when necessary. Again, if they're making you feel bad more times than good, you will need to communicate and learn when to walk away if it's not getting better.
However, I said "when necessary" because everything shouldn't have to be communicated. We're old enough to know the severity and whether or not it's a personal issue that we need to handle ourselves. It's just like that saying goes, "choose your battles wisely." 👌🏼
That's it! I hope you were able to pull a refresher from this post and possibly share with some of your friends.
I'd love to hear of any tips or ways that you maintain your friendships!