Self-Reflection Questions: When was the last time someone told you “You’re a great friend!” or demonstrated her appreciation through a small deed? Further, do the people in your life see you as a dependable friend?
According to Oxford Dictionary, friendships are a place of mutual trust and support between friends.
Many of us say we want them but aren’t always present to what it takes to maintain this kind of relationship.
Let’s go deeper:
Do you remember your first friendship as a child? If you have siblings close to your age, it could of very well been someone in your home. Maybe the interaction was fun and engaging mostly or maybe you often fought over meaningless things like who got to sit in the front seat last. Maybe your first friend was imaginary — a mystical unseen being you created to keep you company.
Our first ideas of friendships start at a young age and continue to build or dismantle as we grow older.
Fast forward to high school, then college (if you chose higher education) and before you know it, ADULTHOOD!
Throughout the changes in life and seasons, you will experience shifts in friendships. That’s expected as our focus, priorities and responsibilities take precedent. But there are people in your life who can be of substantial support if you allow them and make yourself available. Others end with seasons; that’s okay too.
Here are warning signs that the friendships in your life may be unraveling:
— you feel judged when you communicate with this particular person
— you feel obligated to take a call or reply when you really don’t want to
— you feel a consistent sense of discomfort when you’re in this particular person’s presence
— your values no longer align
— you’re afraid to tell this person the gut-wrenching truth and hold them accountable
Being aware of these experiences, we now get to *choose*, do we stitch it or do we throw it away?
The biggest influence in your decision making will be your discernment. Ask your spirit deep questions you may be afraid to know but need to. Be honest about assessing how any particular friendship is propelling or stifling your life’s journey.
If a friendship is valuable to you, schedule a call or face-to-face (preferred) to share your authentic feelings from desire to steward the friendship well. Be mindful that you don’t have any control over how a person responds or not. If agreed both people are consciously choosing to show up for each other, here’s a few stitches:
— tell the damn truth (no sugarcoating)
— express best forms of communication for each of you
— establish and communicate boundaries (example: if either one of you are going through a tough time and can’t be there for the other, vow to communicate the silence so assumptions can stay dormant)
And if it’s decided the friendship has come to an end:
— the friendship will most times dissolve itself. however, make sure there’s no lingering bitterness or resentment in your heart. (note: this does not always require interaction with another person. these are your feelings to acknowledge and address)
— celebrate the good times! think about the laughter, memories and the ways you became a more alive human being because of these experiences
— let go and move forward in grace. like the ending of romantic partnerships, there can be a grieving process. talk through it, walk through it and reach out to a safe person for support (i.e. not to badmouth the other person)
Friendships are irreplaceable in this experience we call life. The best way to be a reliable friend is to be one to yourself first.