In today’s post, we’re talking about all things healthy friendships. My best friend Ebony joined me in answering commonly asked questions about friendships. These relationships are so important to our lives, so recognizing the qualities of a healthy friendship is of utmost importance to our happiness.
Ebony and I became friends our freshman year of high school and we’ve stayed close for 14 years. Although we live in different geographical locations now, our bond is as tight as ever! Ebony is a Libra, which means that she’s a “friendship queen” who thrives off of socialization and relationships. That makes her the perfect person to answer some commonly asked questions I get about friendships, which we delve further into below.
A common question surrounding friendships is what are the different types of friends, and how do you handle one-sided friendships? It’s important to realize that not all friendships look the same. That’s normal! There are levels to these relationships. You’ll naturally have some friends you love going out with on a Friday night, but these individuals may be different from those friends you share your deepest secrets with.
Calling someone a friend means that you have an unspoken expectation of that relationship. You want to spread this energy across different types of friendships, but recognize where you should put in the most energy to foster those connections. Putting in equal energy across the board – even with friends that you ultimately don’t have that deep of a connection with – can end up leading to resentment when they don’t reciprocate that energy. Instead, identify the friends you feel the deepest connection to and put the majority of your energy in there. This will allow you to cultivate a meaningful relationship that hits on a totally different level.
A healthy friendship entails complete acceptance between you and that person of who you both really are. You should always be able to show up as yourself and be genuine, not holding back any part of who you are with your friends.
Healthy friendships also consist of genuine support on an emotional level. A true friend will always support whatever you’re doing – even if they themselves can’t envision mirroring your actions. And you’ll do the same for them.
One part of understanding healthy friendships is recognizing that you have different expectations of how different friends will support you. For instance, you’d expect support from work friends on work projects or accomplishments. But you wouldn’t necessarily expect their support on something personal, like a break up.
Finally, an important part of a healthy friendship is their energy towards you when you have exciting news or something worth celebrating. Do you feel their genuine excitement for you? Healthy friendships entail friends that celebrate your successes and stick with you through failures.
Another important part of friendship revolves around being there for one another. But what are the best ways to show up for your friends and how can they show up for you?
You want friends that are reaching out to you not just when they need something, but instead that are consistent and show that they genuinely care about what’s going on in your life. In any relationship, the two people involved need to be relating and working to build the friendship and keep it going. This is a huge part of being present and showing up for friendship in general.
Showing up for a friend means that you’re always nourishing the relationship and the other person involved. Show them that you want to help each other grow in some way and provide inspiration to one another. This should happen at any level of friendship!
Finally, showing up for a friendship means that there’s an open line of communication. If you notice something a friend is doing wrong, don’t just give them the criticism. Accompany the conversation with, “how can I help?” to let them know you’re there and want to work on the relationship.
Clearly, Ebony and I have prioritized keeping our friendship intact since we’ve maintained it for 14 years. That’s a long time! But many have asked how they can maintain long lasting friendships.
The answer to this is pretty simple: invest the time into the relationship. However, this shouldn’t feel much like “work.” In a friendship you’re meant to be in, you’ll naturally want to keep in touch with this person and it won’t be something you have to force yourself to do. This is because you’ll naturally share values, good moments together, stories, laughter, and so on.
If you’re finding that you have to overcompensate in a friendship, you have to ask yourself, is this person as significant to me as I think they are? Do I care about this person and REALLY want them as a part of my life?
Always pay attention to the energy you’re receiving back from someone, particularly when these questions arise. Are you always the one to reach out or to set up plans? Keeping those genuine, deep connection friendships won’t feel like work, and it won’t feel so skewed to one side.
Feeling like you don’t have friends as an adult is not at all uncommon, and it’s actually something I hear quite a bit. Sometimes this isn’t the result of not having friends, but rather more of a feeling of isolation. It can also feel like you don’t have friends if you have a smaller circle.
Understanding the friendships you do have takes a shift in perspective. Do this by pushing yourself to enjoy smaller interactions with people you know but may not be as close to. This can be fulfilling like friendships are, helping to eradicate the feeling of isolation.
Another trick here is to do things you enjoy in order to bond with people that share that interest. This will facilitate moments of connection and can help charge your social battery. When you do this, it’s important to go in with the right mindset. Don’t go in thinking, “I’m here to find my new best friends!” Instead, think about it as something you enjoy doing, and those connections will come over time in a natural way.
Instead of focusing on what other people have – which may be a large friend group – start focusing on the things you can control and what you can do to change the situation. This may mean finding people who are passionate about the same things as you or reaching out to attempt to rekindle an old friendship.
The most important thing in making friends as an adult is being open to the different methods of meeting people and fostering genuine connections. You want these relationships to be natural and not forced in order to get the most out of the friendship in the long run.
Friendships are all about genuine connections, finding shared values, and investing the time in the people you feel most bonded with. I received so many questions about friendships that I couldn’t even fit them into one episode! I’ll be back next week to finish up this conversation with Ebony and to answer more questions about friendships.
Thank you sooo much for reading!
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