Do you have a lot of good supporting friends who energise and uplift you?
Or are you surrounded by people who drain you?
The friendships you have can define your life – and such relationships can either enrich your life or make it a pain.
Over the years, my greatest joy and fulfilment has come from my friendships.
Many a time, I have been helped out by good friends who have seen me through thick and thin.
However, there have also been some “friends” who were far from being friends.
And we all seem to somehow create friendships which aren’t necessarily good for us.
For instance, have a good long hard look at the names in your contacts list and chances are that there are several that you no longer feel like calling.
Is it time you became ruthless and cleared from your life some clutter in the form of “friends”?
This is the fifth in my series of 28 relationship articles for the month of February, during which I am taking you through a journey of improving all the relationships in your life.
I am calling it the 28 Day Relationships Adventure (28 DRA)
You can check out the first 4 articles here:-
Day 1 – Become Aware of Your Relationships
Day 2 – Love Yourself First Before Loving Anyone Else
Day 3 – Love Yourself Without Becoming Full of Yourself
Day 4 – Love is all that matters
You can read all 28 articles which are listed at the bottom of this post.
Today I am turning the spotlight on what makes our friendships energising and worthwhile having.
Right upfront, I should clarify that I am not talking about the sort of “friends” we can get on social media platforms such as Facebook with the click of a button!
I do have just over 2,500 Facebook “friends” but of course in reality only a few of those are offline friends. Some of these friends have been through the social media connect button on my blog whilst quite a few are people whom I have met over the years at school, college and workplaces.
I’ll be writing a separate article about social media friends, but today’s emphasise is about friends in the traditional sense.
True friends are the ones who like you, make you feel good, and accept you as you are. They are the people you laugh with and who stick by you through thick and thin.
However, we all spend so much of our precious time with people who no longer do anything for us.
Begin to Let Go of So Called Friendships From Today
Ask yourself – would you prefer to spend more time with the people you love – your partner, children, close family and a few really good friends – or would you rather lose hours with people who just happened to have drifted into your life.
You can’t be loyal and be there for all your real friends if you try to keep absolutely everyone happy!
Also, know that you are not being unkind either by letting go of friends – you are doing them a favour too.
Does this person share my values?
What am I getting out of this friendship?
Do they lift my energy?
Do I love being in their company?
Letting go of unwanted friendships can be a gentle process – and usually both parties know when it’s time to move on.
Of course, you shouldn’t resort to playground tactics and tell a friend that you no longer want to be friends! But then again, maybe you should.
At the same time, maintain and nurture the true friendships in your life so that they uplift, support and energise you.
Here are some simple tips to do just that:-
1. Accept Your Real Friends Just the Way They Are
Recognise their special qualities and also appreciate their little idiosyncrasies, since it is these which make them unique.
Accept them for what they are, without judgement and wanting to make them change.
2. Be Honest with Them
Communicate your feelings, ideas, wants and what makes you happy or unhappy with each other.
Create a space between you whereby you can have a flow of honest feelings and questions, knowing that it is safe to do so. Be confident in each other’s capacity to be told the truth and willingness to forgive as and when necessary.
If you do want to make any helpful suggestions, check first if your suggestions are valid and relevant.
How will speaking your truth impact your friendship?
3. Listen to Them
You will then know what makes them happy, sad, and mad or simply what is happening in their lives.
Conversely, open up and let them listen to you. How else will they get to know you and what makes you happy, sad, or mad?
4. Be Assertive and Make Clear your Preferences
Get clear about what types of activities you like and don’t like doing. There is no point in you tagging along and feeling resentful all evening.
If you need to, do things on your own – and of course without becoming a recluse!
5. Be Reliable
Don’t let your friends down at the last minute. Do keep to arrangements that have been made. After all, they might have refused activities with others because of your prior arrangement.
Begin to manage your time well and use a diary to avoid clashes. Otherwise, once you get to be seen as unreliable, friends will start to go elsewhere as they have other friends to see as well.
6. Remember Their Special Occasions
Send a card on your friend’s birthday and remember their special Occasions. Perhaps even initiate a celebratory outing.
Conversely, also acknowledge other events such as illness by visiting or sending flowers and get well cards.
7. Remain in Regular Contact
Don’t drop your friends just because the “latest” boy or girl friend has come onto the scene. Well cultivated friendships will usually last far longer than that boy or girl friend.
Make time for your friends and when you are ready, introduce your partner to them so that you can all do activities together.
8. Give Them Space
Don’t email them or be on the phone every day pestering to see them! Respect their space and right to see others. They will respect you more if you are seen to have a life of your own, away from them.
Of course the regularity of your contact and meetings with friends will depend on the closeness of your friendship. Judge the pace and decide how often you should be in contact.
9. Give as Well as You Take
Don’t just contact your friends only when you “want” something. People will soon catch on and discard you as a friend. Always remember the favours done for you, and return them.
Be there for your friends in the same way as they were there for you during your hard times.
After all, a friend in need is a friend indeed.
Please share below your tips for creating and sustaining energising friendships.
Daily Exercise for Today
1. Do something today for a close friend to let them know how much they mean to you. If nothing else, call them and have heart felt conversation.
2. Review any interactions with friends over the last 7 days which were not energising. Reflect on what you can do differently next time?
28 Day Relationship Adventure
Postscript – Here are the complete 28 articles in this series from February 2011.
Please do check them all out:-)
1 – Become Aware of Your Relationships
2 – Love Yourself First Before Loving Anyone Else
3 – Love Yourself Without Becoming Full of Yourself
5 – 9 Simple Tips To Create Energising Relationships
6 – Why Decluttering your Friends is Good for You and Them
7 – Stop Bending over Backwards for Other People!
8 – Be Special to Find the Special One
9 – 10 Key Secrets for Becoming Likeable
10 – Don’t Fall in Love – Create Love
11 – Do you Believe in Soulmates?
12 – Open Your Heart and Find the Special One
13 – Create your ideal Valentine’s Day
14 – Make it a Fun Valentine’s Day Everyday!
15 – Make Your Relationship Even More Special
16 – Learn to Love Unconditionally
17 – 11 Keys to Improve ALL Your Relationships
18 – Why the Human Touch is Key
20 – Share Your Love with Your Loved Ones Everyday
21 – Stop Judging, Start Loving
22 – Simple Trick to Instantly Improve All Your Relationships
23 – Why No One Is Ever An Ugly Duckling!
24 – Why World Compassion Begins With You
25 – Why Teamwork Always Begins with YOU
26 – How to Let People Go From Your Life
27 – Thank the Divine Every Day
28 – Stop Being An Approval Seeking Machine
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Image courtesy of makelessnoise
It’s strange Arvind, I’ve just written about friendship too. I noticed a search from one of my reader who asks why they lose so many friends, so I shall post about that this coming week and link to this article.
I agree, de-cluttering is what has to happen, a bit like when we look at our Christmas card list and realise we haven’t been in touch with some of those ‘friends’ for a whole year…
Linda, your article sounds very interesting and relevant for Valentine month.
I stopped sending out Christmas cards a few years ago and every year, I get less and less. I do however personally get in touch with the close friends that I wish to maintain relationships with.
It’s all about quality and not quantity. Shared experiences also has a lot to do with keeping old relationships alive.
I have a wonderful up beat circle of friends. I know they keep me grounded.Love me unconditionally and put up with my corkyness.
I enjoy your work very much.
Thanks Bunny and welcome to my blog:-)
You are lucky in that you have an upbeat circle of friends – but it’s all down to you.
You created these friendships yourself and you are probably just as good a friend to your friends as they are to you.
Great message and thoughts on true friendship. I have had many friends come and go in my life, though there is something to those certain people who we remain close to for life. There is a bond that develops out of the mutual trust, respect, and goodwill that is experienced.
I have learned to recognize who really cares about me and not focus on those “friendships” that are a struggle and one sided affair. Relationships should offer mutual growth and support, and should be worth more than favors and flattery.
Good to see you here again:-)
You have summed up nicely how to distinguish between those friendships that sustain you and those which are a struggle.
In my life, my longest lasting friendships are those with people with whom I have developed a bond through mutual trust and respect – and also where we have had some learning growth together.
And of course relationships based on favours and flattery do not last long.
All the best to you.