I recently read a book about friendship. We all have friends at different levels and they range from mere acquaintances to the people you trust to hold your deepest thoughts, hopes and dreams.
MULTIPLE BEST FRIENDS
My biggest take away is that all these friends serve different roles and purposes for us, and we for them.
No one person can be all things for us.
Nope, not even our husband. It is so unfair to put all our expectations on just one person. Not only that, but the idea of having one best friend is ridiculous. We should allow for multiple best friends.
This particular insight is extremely helpful with a 9-year old girl whose friendships seem to fluctuate with some rapidity. Not to mention a mom who frequently laments not having that one friend to share absolutely everything with.
Think about the roles your current friends play for you. When you are feeling discouraged or sad do you know just the friend to call? When you are in need of some reinforcement and advice do you know the friend to call? When you have something to celebrate do you know just the friend to call who is genuinely happy for you?
THE SHIFTING TIDES
All of our relationships shift to some degree over time. And that’s OK! It’s only natural for our relationships to transform when outer or inner circumstances change. What’s important is to be able to recognize two things.
The first is to recognize when a relationship is no longer serving you. I’m not talking slash and burn any relationship that has challenges or doesn’t “look balanced” on the outside. I have a dear, dear friend and whenever we get together I am the one making the plans and inviting her. After a while, I got really annoyed about this. But I realized that planning is not her thing, and after I spend time with her—I feel AMAZING! So this relationship is a keeper for me. I am referring to the relationships that are wearing you out, that you still maintain contact or more out of obligation or habit or proximity.
The second, is that as simple and easy as it may appear to make friends when we are young; as an adult there are times when you just have to go out there and find the friendships you are looking for. My ring of friends looks drastically different now than it did even 5 years ago. I had a very difficult time accepting that friends I thought I would have for life, all of a sudden didn’t know what to do with me. So instead of lamenting about how lonely I was and how nobody “gets” me, I fostered new friendships.
SEEK AND YOU SHALL FIND
Between kids, husbands, households, jobs and interests—cultivating friendships can fly right out the window. Nurturing and maintaining friendships requires effort and commitment. Many of us let our lives become so busy with work and other commitments that we don’t get around to scheduling time for pleasure and renewal with the friends, relatives and acquaintances we already have. Since I choose to work from home, it is up to me to actively seek the kind of friendships I desire.
Be open to the women who cross your path or are even on the periphery. You never know what friendship is lying in wait for you – you may be surprised.
Someone who may not appear to be your cup of tea, may very well be the woman who is your biggest supporter and cheerleader.
Keep your friendships strong by nurturing them on a regular basis. Meeting friends regularly for a walk or coffee, finding about how you can support them, sending them small gifts over intervals, a quick text or a handwritten card, sharing jokes with them, asking them to get together for an activity, and so many other things can help us strengthen our friendships.
A healthy support system will increase your level of joy, purpose, meaning and well-being.
Here’s what you can do today if you are feeling dissatisfied in your friend department. Identify someone you would like to grab coffee with, call them and invite them to join you. Chances are they’ve been meaning to do the same.