Let's talk about FRIENDSHIP

Monday, August 12, 2019

From the moment we could walk and talk as children we began to form friendships by interacting with our peers.  Sometimes it was over common ground like being into the same toys and other times it was simply because our parents were best friends so we spent a lot of time together when they would hang out.  Either way, friendships have always been a crucial part to the life of a human being whether you're young or old, male or female, shy or outgoing.  Friendships allow you to thrive by bonding with other people, having a support system in place, and always having someone to laugh at your jokes.  

In this post I wanted to talk a little bit more in depth about friendships and what they really should consist of.  There is a big difference between a toxic friend and a friend that helps you thrive, but sometimes it's hard for us to see that when we have known the person for so long.  

So let's talk about friendship. 

Friendships shouldn't be selfish or one-sided. The whole point of a friendship is that you have a mutual bond with mutual benefits.   Now of course some of us go off the radar for a bit so maybe we aren't the friend that's calling every day simply because life is busy, but the selfish one-sided friendships I'm talking about are the ones where someone wants you to do whatever they want to do. 

Say you call your friend and ask her if she wants to attend a festival or concert with you.   That's just not her scene so she says no.   Whatever you do - don't get angry and passive aggressive and take it personal.  Despite your company, some venues just aren't a place where people have fun.  If you asked me to go skydiving, I would absolutely say no.  It's not because you asked, it's because I wouldn't even go skydiving with myself.   So instead of getting all pissy and offended, ask that person "Well I really wanna spend time with you so what would you like to do?".  This allows that person to choose but also you're letting them know that the whole reason you asked your original question was simply because you wanted to spend time with them. 

I have heard some people completely going off the rails and bitching that people don't make time for them and never want to do things they invite them to do.  Okay selfish Sally - chill the eff out!  First of all, time is a precious resource and some of us don't have a lot of it after our jobs, kids, home life, relationship, and pets.  Also, some of us prioritize self care and alone time, even if that means turning down plans with others.  If that bothers you, then the problem is with your expectations of the friendship. 

A friendship should be full of respect for others and what they want.   This means you should respect their free time or how they choose to use that time.  And when it comes to yourself, if someone doesn't respect that about you, do NOT go out of your way to cater to them and make them feel better.   When people say they're lonely and no one ever wants to do anything with them, I usually ask them - well, is there something about you that makes you an undesirable person to be friends with?  Are you too pushy or controlling?  Do you always want people to make sacrifices to see you or do you ever make sacrifices yourself to see them?   

Another important thing is to ask yourself if you're draining to be around.  Some people have such shitty negative energy and are so reactive to literally EVERYTHING that it's just not fun being around them.  

A healthy friendship has to be mutually beneficial.  That's why as we get older we tend to grow away from some people.  As savage as it sounds, it's true - friendships sometimes don't fit you anymore as people can become very different over time.  

Another important aspect of a healthy friendship is that while it's beneficial, that doesn't mean it has to be that way for both people at the same time.  Tragedy can occur and you may need your friends very badly.   They will be there as your support system.   And months later, maybe one of them is going through something and it's your turn to be there for them.   

Remember that friendships are a huge grey area.  There is no set amount of time you need to talk every day or week, there's no requirement on how often you see each other, and you aren't obligated to spend time with someone just because they ask. 

Do you have healthy genuine friendships?  Have you experienced toxic ones? 


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