How to Up Your Friend Game
Friendship, to many of us, is one of the most sacred relationships that we hold near and dear to our hearts. It is a relationship that many women in particular, rely on heavily to get through life - both the good, and the bad. How would we possibly get through the breakups or pick out an outfit to go out in? Who else would we watch Bachelorette with, sing at the top of our lungs to old Miley Cyrus, or sit on the floor crying at 2am with?
Girlfriends are special - this, we know. The good ones are there for it all; there to cheer us on at our high's and there with a tissue and bottle of white in hand when life smacks us down. It is a bond that can't be broken easily, and is cherished above all else.
While it's easy to be a "good friend", there are some things that I'm still learning about friendships and how to best nurture these sacred relationships. What are they? So glad you asked...
Learn to listen
As I've discussed in previous posts, this is a hard one for most of us. Even if you don't have the gift of gab, it can be hard to put on your listening ears and zip your lips when a friend needs to vent. We're programmed to problem solve, which is why we love to butt in and find the quickest, most painless solution - even if they're not asking for one!
This is big. Make sure you understand what your friend needs from you right now. Is she asking for advice? Does she solely just want to word vomit about the awful day at work she had? Literally ask her what she needs, and if she doesn't know, just offer your support and sympathy. Make sure she knows you feel for her and, if a solution is what she's searching for, work with her to find the one that works best for her. It's time to put on your sympathy cap and help a sister out!
Rein in the judgment
So, honestly, another one that can be difficult! None of us want to be judgmental friends - we all want to be the person that any of our friends can turn to at the drop of a hat for literally anything. But, sometimes we don't make decisions that our friends agree with - and that's completely normal and okay! But, as friends, we need to try to rein in this judgment and recognize that our friends are living their lives and making decisions that they choose. And, we need to be okay with that! No one is going to agree with all of our decisions, and it frankly doesn't matter, because it's our life, and good friends should support each other regardless.
However, if there are decisions being made that are severely negatively affecting their well-being, this doesn't mean we have to sit back and let them continue plummeting to rock bottom. Express your concerns to them, but remain comfortable with the fact that it is ultimately their decision how they choose to live their life.
Pave a two-way street
We all know a healthy friendship is a two-way street. Make sure that you're giving as much as you're receiving, and if this balance doesn't exist, feel free to leave the friendship in the dust. Just like a romantic relationship, no one wants to be putting 100% of the effort all the time. Make sure you're gaining value from the people you spend your time with, since as we know, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. So, choose wisely!
Let's get real. Surface-level friendships are so...blah. It's basically the equivalent of seeing a beautifully decorated cake in a cake shop, only to find out it's cardboard when you cut into it. Don't be that friend!
We all want authentic connection! Be willing to discuss your life, your wounds, your fears, your hopes, your dreams. These are the things that draw people closer, not always just recapping what happened on last night's Grey's Anatomy episode (although, this is a must too - duh!). The more real, open, and vulnerable you get, the deeper and richer your connections will get.
I hope some of these tips help you and your friendships, and I'll see you in my next post!