Learn from my experiences with my friends, and you will change your life for good, and you’ll know when you need to weed out those that aren’t good for you.
Just like anyone else I’ve had my share of bad friendships, I’m guessing you have too. I have also had some amazing connections and they’ve taught me things that have changed my life for good and made me a better person because of who I associate with. Look for some of these characteristics in your friends and your life will be the better for it, that’s a guarantee. I’ve learned some life changing lessons from my friends over the years and you can too.
For purposes of this post, I’m going to skip over the people who have impacted my life in negative ways, that’s a whole different discussion of lessons learned that I don’t feel like dealing with today. I want to focus on the good aspects of my friends. We can do horror stories another day 🙂
In thinking about the people who have touched my life the most in positive ways, it strikes me that every single person on that list are the real, authentic, loving, and deep thinking people. I have done a lot of learning from my friends as they have extended friendship to me. For that I am grateful.
1. It’s the simple things that have meant the most to me.
Here are a couple of recent examples of simple ways some of my good friends have supported me. My dear and wise friend who fed squirrels with me at the park and supplied the peanuts and also a kind and listening ear when I needed it, is one of my most treasured relationships. She and I have been friends for years and I would do anything for her. She has shown me selfless love that is unmatched. I could only hope to reciprocate a fraction of what she has done for me.
I have another friend who lives 10 hours away from me. I texted her at 2pm one afternoon and said, ‘Jason and I getting in the car and coming to see you in about 2 hours because we just need to get out of town NOW.’ Her reply? ‘Yes! Come down, we have coffee, Hallmark movies, time to listen, and care for you guys.’ That weekend was an amazing example of care and connection by good friends. We didn’t solve a single problem, but we laughed, I cried, we shared our hearts, and we prayed together. Jason and I both left with full hearts, even though not a single circumstance had changed on the outside. She also knows every single detail about me. Even the ugly stuff. Even the hard to accept stuff. She loves me anyway.
2. Not everyone should be your friend. Healthy boundaries are a must.
The world at large is full of a minefield of people to interact with. There’s a feeling of self-preservation that takes over for me, as it does for most everyone, I suspect, and the public face we all have rises to the surface. That’s as it should be, having boundaries in relationships is critically important – you can trust me on this one, I’m an expert in failure in this department.
I’ve learned that I am a person who believes the best about people, so I’ve found myself in situations where I’ve been too free with myself with people that I shouldn’t have been. It hurts to do that and it can leave damaging scars. Finding the balance of being open, authentic, and available, while doing so appropriately is not an easy balance to strike. We’ve all been bit once or twice in this area, I’m certain of that.
No one can perfectly love someone else, I believe that need can only be fulfilled by a God who does love us perfectly. In addition, choosing to love and accept ourselves is critical to being able to foster relationships that are loving, and protecting ourselves from hurt. That said, we do need the love of others. We cannot do this life alone.
3. They’ve shown they love me by understanding me and not trying to change me.
- They don’t place judgment or tell me what to do. I hate being told what to do or how to solve an issue. Just ask Jason. Or maybe don’t…. If I have a problem, I need the space to figure it out. I need people that will listen, and be supportive, but trust that I want to do the right thing for myself. They are confident enough in themselves to understand that my choices may not match their expectations, and they can live with that in order to be in relationship with me. I have a fiercely independent streak, and I have to let that reign in relationships.
- They understand that I need to talk things out – when I’m ready. Another fun fact about me is that I can’t let something go until I’ve gained an understanding of ‘why.’ Sometimes I’ve wished that was different, but it does benefit me at times too. I’m analytical and deeply emotional, and I have to sort out all the pieces in my brain before I can move on. It takes me a long time to process things, Jason loves that about me….. That said, once I’m done, I can move forward fully and completely. That’s a benefit for certain. Closure and acceptance are amazing gifts.
- They know that when I’m hurting, I’ll distance myself. It’s my coping mechanism to isolate when I’m troubled. It can be hard for a friendship because I am not always consistent in communication with others. It depends highly on my state of mind and my mood. Those that love me know that if they haven’t heard from me to reach out. I’ll always respond if someone reaches out, and it helps me with the practice of not isolating when I’m hurting.
- They point me to God, and ask me some hard questions. I kind of hate this by the way, but I need it. I trust my true friends completely so I know if they are asking me hard questions that it’s because they care for me. When my friends ask me a question that points me to God and taking focus off the world, it deflates my self-interests. I like to control the way that things go, and there is no room for control when I’m looking up. It leads me to peace and serenity. My best living is done in that space, and my smart friends know this, and I observe it in them too.
- They spend time with me. Quality time is my number one love language, and my friends know this. When I’m with someone I love, all my attention is there, in the moment, and with them. They sacrifice their time to be with me, whether it’s feeding the squirrels or running or watching Hallmark movies.
In conclusion – find some good friends. Your life will be richer for it.
If you don’t have any good friends like I do, find some!
Tread carefully, and be the kind of friend that you want to be, that’s a great place to start. Fully engaging in those relationships is worth it, and it will enrich your life. If you find yourself in relationships that hurt, it’s time to examine your boundaries and make some hard decisions. That’s scary, and it takes extreme courage to set boundaries, but I guarantee that if you do this hard work, you’ll find friends that rise to the surface that are true and can be trusted with your softest and most vulnerable parts. I hope this is helpful to you. It’s been an amazing journey for me to experience deep friendship.
Thank you for reading along with me about my friends. I hope it’s helpful to you as it has been for me. Otherwise, take what you want from this post and leave the rest. I’ll be here, working on being a good friend to others. Love, Leslie