Friendships can be similar to the relationships we have with our family members and in some cases we have a better relationship with our friends than we do with our family. Similarly, when a friendship ends it can feel like a breakup and I think it’s because the relationship we have with our friends can be very intimate. Friendships fall in a variety of categories because there are different levels of friendships; your best friend(s), I had a friend once who I only got together with every few months for dinner and we didn’t really talk much in between those dinner dates, and there are some friends you trust your secrets with and others that you may have very superficial conversations with it. I think the levels of friendships can be endless.
Friendships can be complex relationships because everyone’s definition differs; which can make the relationship a challenge at times because if we are friends and you’re not operating the way I think a friend should operate, then navigating the relationship can potentially cause us to bump heads. And when and if that happens the question of whether the relationship should continue may come up. This week I want to talk about how some of our negative traits affect our friendships.
INSECURITIES this is a big one and we all have them and they aren’t easy to work on. Insecurities can affect our relationship when we allow it to affect being happy for our friends. For example, if you’re insecure about your looks or your ability to be outgoing in a social setting but you’re friend is the complete opposite, you might find yourself pointing out their flaws instead of celebrating their wins just to make yourself feel better. This is a very thin line because you might not realize you’re doing it. When my insecurities get in the way of being happy for my friends I try to keep the compliments simple by saying things like “you’re so good at that,” or ask them “how do you do it so well?” These are very simple statements that you can use to show your friends that you see them or to let them know that you’re proud of them despite what you may be feeling on the inside. Our insecurities are our issues and we should really try not to push them on to others.
JEALOUSY another big one. Much like insecurities, all of us struggle with jealousy even if it’s just a little bit. Jealousy becomes and issue when we find it hard to be happy for friends and their accomplishments. If your friends are making moves and you feel like you’re stuck in the same place it will be hard not to be jealous. I know someone who tries to be happy for her friends when they appear to be doing well in life but her compliments usually comes with something negative. For example, “she bought a new house but it’s only 3 bedrooms” or “she bought a new car but it doesn’t have a lot of great features,” or “she got a promotion but she still lives in an apartment.” You have to develop that filter. Bringing up the “negative” may make you feel better about your situation but how is saying it out loud showing that you’re happy for your friends? If you’re guilty of this, try to be mindful. Give the compliment and leave the “negative” follow up to yourself.
NEGATIVITY if you’re the glass is half empty type of person it will be very hard to keep friends because no one wants to be around negative energy all the time. We are all guilty of being negative from time to time but if you’re consistently a negative person the impact on your friendship can be detrimental. People who are always negative never have anything good to say. It’s similar to the above examples; finding the negative for everything that’s positive. If you’re like this then you have to work on yourself because your friends may start to schedule events without you because no one likes to be around that. If you’re not sure if you fall in this category talk to your friends about it and ask them what you can do to change.
No friendship is perfect and I think a friendship that started on a strong foundation can endure almost any challenges. I’ve had a few friendships that have shifted over the years, meaning, we’re still great friends but things aren’t how they use to be. But it’s not a bad thing because we change and if we change, our friendships can change too. I understand this may be difficult for some people (especially if you don’t like change) but I think we have to learn how to be flexible when it comes to friendships.
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