Photo courtesy of Karl Magnuson from unsplash.com
Friendships are a delicate dance. They’re not family, but they can be for some. They’re not romantic, yet there is a “give and take” nature about it. They’re not professional, but constructive input is needed for growth. Friendships are a mutual agreement: “I like you. You like me. I respect you. You respect me. Let’s be friends.”
Throughout the course of your life, you’ll have many friends. Some that are for life (we all know them by name and can count them usually on one hand), some that are weak or strong acquaintances, many that come and go, and many more that leave and never return, or those that you let go of and never run back to.
The older I get I’ve learned how to pick out better friends, mainly because I have learned to be a better friend to myself. As the saying goes, you accept the love you think you deserve. Needless to say, even if your eyes are wide open and you’re self aware as best as you can be, there will always be friends that make you question why you extended that olive branch to begin with.
With that said, I love being in my mid-30s! Lately, I’ve been really coming into my own, getting comfortable in my skin, finding my voice (letting my yes be yes and my no be no), and the more I continue to align myself to being authentic and in the present, those that don’t align with me and my purpose fall away, either by osmosis or by my own choosing.
When I was younger, I let friends choose me and even if I didn’t want to be friends with them, I would continue the friendship out of fear of being alone or not liked. And more often than not, those friendships lacked a foundation of mutual respect, kindness, and thoughtfulness. I noticed that those that “chose” me usually embodied a strong controlling personality – one where they thought they were better and/or smarter than me and I often dulled my shine or hid my intelligence for fear of being found out…and again, not liked.
There are no “bad” friendships. I think everyone out there is trying there very best and most intentions come from a good place. Hence I hate the words “bad” or “good” to describe people. I’d rather describe friendships as either healthy or unhealthy…and/or aligned or not aligned.
I guess the point I’m trying to convey is that friendships are there to teach you along the path of your life. Sometimes you’re the teacher and other times you’re being taught. It is a give and take. It will teach you how you’d like to be treated and how you would not like to be treated. It will teach you ultimately how to love yourself more so you can be a “good” friend to another. Friendships should be a source of emotional support- one where encouragement and kind acts towards one another is an unwritten rule. Friendships should be equal. As soon as one person thinks they are better than the other in any way, it becomes unhealthy and usually breeds hate and judgement. Friendships should be honest. If you can’t be honest with your friends…it’s best to just let them go. Friendship is accepting each other’s differences. Friendships are sensitive so treat them as such. (Personally I think if a friend is insensitive or unthoughtful to me multiple times (i.e. it’s a pattern and let’s say I’ve mentioned it to them but their behavior doesn’t change), they are not a real friend.
I’ve had my share of insensitive and rude friends. Again, not “bad” because no one is bad, but they were definitely not vibing with my energy.
Signs of a lame friend:
• They interrupt you when you talk in a group setting.
• They hug everyone in the group except you when you all meet up.
• They aren’t respectful of your time.
• They say they’re happy for you but their behavior and actions don’t support their words.
• They say insensitive things to your face.
• They use nonverbal jabs to hurt you.
• They don’t respect your boundaries or acknowledge that you have a life outside of theirs.
Signs of a genuine friend:
• They are genuinely interested in your life.
• They notice the small things. (i.e. Your likes and dislikes).
• They treat you like their equal.
• They respect your boundaries and acknowledge you have a life outside of theirs.
• They’re honest.
• They’re thoughtful.
• They are happy for you and always wants happiness for you.
• They encourage and uplift you when you’re down.
• There’s safety in the relationship to have open communication.
I used to let friends choose me. Now, I’m choosing my friends and there seems to be this natural affinity that grows between me and the other person. Nothing is forced, there is no fear, no control, no guilt or a sense of obligation – and it’s just a wonderful beautiful thing.
Friendships are important in life. Choosing them is even more important. Being one is just as important. Namaste. ❤️