Respect: Respect your friends and their time. Be mindful of their opinions, feelings, lifestyle, choices and goals, even if you don’t agree or understand.
Engage, empathise, and empower. Engage in a genuine way, stay present during conversations, make sure you are empathising and not sympathising. (To tell the difference, watch this short you tube here.) Empower your friends. Tell them their strengths, support their goals and dreams. Instead of being annoyed by certain traits such as a friend who takes too many selfies or talks about her pregnancy, baby/children or career too much empower her by pointing out how beautiful and inspiring she looks, how excited you are about her baby, how much you enjoy watching her blossom as a parent and hearing and sharing in the joys and successes of her kids, or how inspired you feel at her determination to succeed at work. Be positive instead of negative in your thoughts, words and intentions, when she is with you and when she is not.
Support, self esteem and self awareness. Support your friend and her situation, regardless of her circumstances, while being conscious not to enable bad behaviours, patterns, relationships or choices. Be true to yourself, be aware of yourself, your needs and your values. Be authentically and fully yourself and let your friends know what you need to feel connected.
Optimise. Make the most of any and all time you get with your friends. Don’t spend your time together on your phone or tending to other obligations.
Love and listen. Love yourself and your friends. Listen to your needs, intuition, and their words. Ask questions about them and show interest in their answers. Try not to turn the conversation around to yourself constantly.
Understand. Do your best to understand your friends. This extends to their values, their needs, their situations and circumstances and their feelings. Be conscious of understanding your own self and your own triggers and boundaries too.
Trust and time. Trust the positive intentions of your friends. Don’t go looking for reasons to blame them, look for ways you could improve the situations yourself. Make more time for your friends. Make it a priority to do something positive for your friendships and your social life at least once per week, however small. Let people know you are thinking of them when you can’t make time. Then make some ASAP.
Intimacy. Try to deepen or strengthen your intimacy in your friendships. Identify ways in which your friends feel more connected to you – do they need to be shown attention or asked about themselves? Do they need to feel fun and be invited to events and activities? Do they need you to engage their family? How do you feel more connected and how can you help foster a deeper connection?
Own your part. It is easy to play the victim and feel sorry for yourself, but we all play a role in allowing some situations that make us uncomfortable or upset. If you're focusing on what they can do to help you feel better; tell them and then ask yourself what you can do without them changing anything. You can only control yourself remember.
New friends and never judge. Be open to making and fostering new friendships. Make a conscious effort not to judge your friends. New or old. Recognise and respect that your values, experiences and beliefs may be different; just listen and support your friends – you don’t need to question them, pressure them or fix them. Perspective allows you to recognise that just because you are right doesn't make someone else wrong.
Speak and share. Don’t wait to be asked. Offer information about your life. Don’t make people guess what it is that you want to talk about. If something is important to you, be it a health issue, or a work issue, or just that you get to express how your day was, make sure you do. You may think that person should have asked you about whatever it is, but you’ll feel better once you express it and they listen regardless if you were asked or not. Assuming they do listen that is. If not refer to the point about new friends! If you don't speak because you were waiting to be asked or invited to speak, or if you say you are fine when you aren’t, or deflect when people do ask you – ultimately you may wonder why you feel lonely or misunderstood. I am guilty of this; post to coming soon.
Happy New Year Peoples! Make 2017 Your own! What are your friendship resolutions?
Your Best Friend ForNever