When figuring out how to be a better friend, the key is paying attention to how your friends care for you - because we often love others the way we’d like to be loved!
Have you ever gone shopping and became so excited because you found a great gift for a friend? Maybe the gift was so great actually, that you kind of wanted to keep it for yourself? Well, that’s probably because you did like the gift a lot - most likely the reason you bought it. Your own likes and interests oftentimes inform the way you perceive what friends may appreciate. If your friends have similar interests to you, you may accidentally overlook what makes them different.
If you find your friendships lacking
Remember relationships (of all kinds) are about reciprocation. That means, while you need to create moments to give love to others, you also need to allow moments for others to show love to you.
We all naturally bend one way or the other. For those who struggle with insecurities and self worth, it can be very challenging to accept compliments, gifts, or other acts of love from friends. And for those who may have dealt with neglect previously, we may have trouble loving others because we worry we aren’t getting enough in return or that friends aren't trustworthy enough to be loved.
Whatever your challenge may be, friendships can help heal us from some of these unhealthy patterns of relating and provide necessary nutrients to our life. Let’s take a look at a couple specific examples of common problems and possible solutions:
“I’m the only friend that ever reaches out.”
This one can hit hard. Sometimes you feel like you are always giving, and your friends aren’t doing the same for you. The best thing you can do in this situation is tell them how you feel and what you need. Perhaps your friend doesn't know what they’re doing or what is important to you.
“I’m afraid to reach out, because I’m afraid they’ll reject me.”
Fear of rejection almost always comes from past or current rejection in other relationships. Have you felt the sting of rejection by other friends in the past? If so, take it slow, and remember this is a different person and a different story, chances are they will respond differently. Finally, hold it loosely, if it doesn’t work out, that’s okay! You want to find a good friend that sticks. People are complex, and there is nothing wrong with taking time to build life-long friendships.
“I don’t know what my friend likes.”
That’s an easy one… Just ask! No matter how long or how little you’ve been friends, people will feel loved that you care to know what they like. You’re not a bad friend if you’ve forgotten, they will appreciate the effort you put in to know them. And if you’re nervous or uncomfortable asking, try asking one of their friends or family members. No need to overthink it, simple gestures, like sending them a surprise Venmo to get a coffee or treat on a hard day, will show them that you care and are thinking of them.
“They are always busy” or “I am always busy”
Friendships need to be intentional and realistic. If you were growing a plant, you’d have to water, trim, and place it near sunlight if you expect it to grow. However, if you can only water the plant once a month, you’d want to look for a plant that doesn’t need to be watered daily. The key to this problem, is setting realistic expectations for yourself and others and putting in the effort of prioritizing time with friends. Remember: good friendships will make you richer (and in additional ways to money) than doing overtime at work!
Our encouragement this week, is that you’ll press into and explore your own weaknesses in the ebs and flows of friendship. Investing in healthy, thriving, and fun friendships can truly change your life!
We hope that after reading this blog, your life bursts with even greater color and possibility! If anything here has been impactful for you, we want to know! Message us on instagram (@humancreativecoaching)!