How many of us have them?
Hopefully we can count on at least one friendship that we lean on to keep us sane. We have to be careful to not overstress our friendships, though. We have to care for and tend to these relationships just like any other relationship. We have to keep them healthy, protect them and not take them for granted.
I have always experienced difficulty making actual friendships. I’m sure part of it has to do with the fact that I am an extroverted introvert, which means that although I can command a room with my personality and don’t have trouble meeting new people, I often need to seclude to recharge after being around a lot of people. Having to balance social time and personal time has been a challenge, but I think that my lasting friendships with my best friends have been able to flourish due to the fact that we all agree that we need our space and we’re able to pick up where we left off whenever we reconnect.
I feel very fortunate to know and love people that are understanding and not demanding, but the time that we spend together is uninterrupted and undistracted; however, I know that there are friendships out there that can be very stressful and taxing on your sanity. Personally, although I think friendships are crucial to growth, reflection and understanding who you are and how you present, there is no friendship that is worth stressing and pulling your hair out over. That’s not to say that friends don’t get into it and have disagreements – you should fight with your friends from time to time, simply because you are two different people with different attitudes and methods of communication. But if you’re stressed out just by being friends with homie, homie might have to go. Remember that its all about balance.
I honestly don’t know where I would be without my friends. I have given advice, I have taken advice, and I have decided to do my own thing. My friends have been there for me and life has been easier having them in my life.
I am a strong proponent of communication and although I am still a work in progress, I encourage those around me to engage in open communication and expand perspectives in a more open and empathetic way. Open communication and empathy are requirements for healthy relationships, and friendships are no different. Friends should feel free enough to tell the other what they need from their friend; however, in the same token, friends ought to also feel free to tell the other the hard truths when necessary and understand that criticisms aren’t rooted in hate, but instead are driven with love.
I’ll find myself in conversation with various people (because for some reason, people like to talk to me and vent) and they’ll start going on about something someone did to them, and how it made them feel. Without missing a beat, my first question is, “well, did you tell them that?” Ninety-percent of the time the answer is no, and then this strange look comes across their face as if they’re saying, “I didn’t think of that…” and then the immediate retort is always, “well they should know xyz since we’ve been friends for so long!”
The truth of the matter is this: People will always do things that you don’t agree with, and they might upset you. Friends and best friends are no different. How you get over is all in how you communicate. Expectations often lead to disappointments and expecting someone to respond in a certain way sets you up for disappointment, and humans will inevitably disappoint you. And that is okay. We disappoint others and others disappoint us. Such is life. We can cut out a lot of time spent in anger if we did not depend on our expectations, whether due to loyalty as a friend of some other sort of hyper-awareness that we expect our friends to have for us. Instead, if we insisted on communicating our needs and wants as they occur, we could enjoy more time with our friends. And if there’s anyone that you should feel free enough to be open and honest with, it should be your friends.
Just like you would check in with your partner in an intimate relationship, you should check in with your friends to see how they are. Don’t be the friend who simply unloads all their burdens on their friends, yet don’t reciprocate the same.
In every relationship, there has to be give and take. If you want good friends, be a good friend. Make friends, respect their time and enjoy their company. You’ll be glad you did.