In today’s post, I’m continuing the dialogue about all things healthy friendships. You probably remember from last week that my best friend Ebony joined me in answering commonly asked questions about friendships. These relationships are complex and don’t come without their occasional issues, and this post delves into how you can handle some of the tough things that come up in friendships.
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.
For those who are used to being fiercely independent, it can be tough to find the motivation to invest time into friendships. So how can these individuals force themselves to do it?
One thing to focus on if this is the case for you is vulnerability. Independent individuals tend to want to handle everything themselves, but understanding that there is value to being vulnerable and in receiving support from friends can help to motivate these relationships.
Push yourself to have a willingness to share and ask yourself, “Do I like having to carry every load on my own?” Being independent is great, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a huge amount of value in having a solid support system.
Having codependent friends can be really tough, and the prospect of setting boundaries with these individuals may be intimidating. However, it’s something that must be done for the health of the friendship overall.
People who are codependent look to friends for validation on nearly everything, and this is because they don’t trust themselves to do things or trust their own capacity for decision making.
If you’re experiencing this with a friend, remind yourself that all adults are responsible for how much they can handle and what they can handle. Also remember that if you’re depleting yourself in the process of trying to keep up with codependent friendships, you won’t be giving people your best when showing up for them. That alone should be motivation to set boundaries!
When you operate off of that mindset, you’ll be more comfortable setting boundaries. And let friends set boundaries with you, too. A great example of this is if you know a friend has a certain bedtime, then you can not expect them to answer your texts after that time. That’s a healthy boundary.
Even the smallest of boundaries are helpful in codependent relationships. Commit yourself to communicate your own boundaries with friends to set these relationships up for success.
A big part of being a good friend is being there for each other during tough times, right? There’s a lot that goes into showing up for someone, though. This is because it’s all really dependent on the type of support the person needs.
Consider physically showing up for them and acting as a distraction from whatever they’re going through. You can also do an “act of service” for them – such as cooking them dinner or taking them out to eat.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to give advice to your friend that’s going through something. In fact, you shouldn’t unless they ask you for your thoughts. Instead, ask, “How can I best support you?” and actually take their answer to heart.
It’s also nice to remember that just because your friend may act like they’re over whatever they’re going through, it can still make a big difference to them if you check in on a daily basis and simply ask how they’re doing. This can ensure that they don’t feel alone and it gives them the opportunity to talk if they want or need to.
When someone is going through something and feels really depleted, just being around a friend who has a calming energy can act as an anchor to pull them out of the trenches of their feelings. This is really powerful. Never underestimate the power of you being there for someone in a tough time, acting as a sounding board, and ensuring that they know you’re there for them no matter what.
Ebony and I are not friends that have frequent arguments, most likely due to our temperaments and our willingness to accept our own mistakes. It’s really important in friendships to have a willingness to be receptive to the fact that you could have done something better in the relationship.
It’s also really vital to be understanding of the different periods in people’s lives and the fact that they may act differently at different times. Ebony and I stopped being friends for about a year before we went to college, and it was on me that it happened that way. I’m grateful not only to Ebony’s mom for rekindling our friendship, but also to Ebony for the understanding and grace she demonstrated as she understood that period of my life and we were able to move on from it.
Our communication style varies – we talk on the phone a lot, FaceTime, and text back and forth. I consider our friendship to be pretty low maintenance in the fact that we don’t require consistent and constant communication. We have an open communication style that revolves around mutual respect and boundaries, and it works well for our relationship.
When a friend displays resentment or jealousy, it can be a really tricky situation. You’ll first need to confirm if your suspicions around these feelings are true, as sometimes they can be harder to identify than others.
If you have a strong feeling that a friend is expressing resentment or jealousy over things in your life, you need to holistically look at the relationship you have with that person and ask yourself the following questions:
It’s so important for you to recognize whether or not the relationship is serving you and act accordingly from there. Remember to guard your energy and be honest with yourself if you feel like the relationship is no longer worth working for.
I’m so grateful for my long-standing friendship with Ebony, and from this conversation and post, I hope you realized that although they’re complex, friendships are incredibly rewarding. These important relationships in our lives can see us through tough times and stand to teach us a lot about ourselves and others.
Thank you sooo much for reading!
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