5 Tips For Cultivating Mature Friendships
Do you wish you had more REAL friends? Making healthy friendships isn’t easy.
Being a friend, choosing positive friends, and maintaining uplifting friendships don't just happen overnight. Like anything in life, it takes effort.
Here are Five Tips to Make Meaningful Friendships:
Discover Who You Are Apart From Your Friends
We are a culmination of the beliefs and values of our parents, culture, and friends. This could include, but is not limited to, our religion, our political values, our fears, our job, and our defense mechanisms. We are shaped, often without any knowledge of the shaping that is happening (that is until something goes horribly wrong in our lives and we look for someone to blame other than ourselves).
When you pursue growth and development, you will have to face your beliefs and values head-on. You will have to ask questions and seek answers. It's jolting, but the end result is a more refined version of yourself.
Knowing who you are creates more confidence. More confidence means less fear. Less fear means more space for friends who share your values and beliefs (and friends who are different from you).
Make Friends Who Are Different Than You
Know who you are, but embrace individuals who are different from you. Making friends who are different than you can open your eyes to many new things. Having friends from all backgrounds, beliefs, and values will help keep you well-rounded. All humans have faults, no one is perfect. Understanding and respecting differences are critical to creating a better world to live in.
When you shut out potential new friendships because "they are wrong", you are not just cutting a possible friendship short, you are also loosing out on a learning experience. Listen, engage, and ask questions. Why do they believe what they believe? Why do they feel a certain way about a topic they are passionate about? You just might be persuaded into admitting you have been wrong.
It will open your eyes to vulnerable and honest conversations. Before personal development, if someone declared their political party (opposite to yours), you may shut them out completely and write them off as a complete idiot. With personal development, however, you may actually be able to delve deeper into what that means for that individual and have a real conversation and realize that you have differences but they are actually super interesting.
Be Authentic and Honest
When you make friends who are different than you, you will have to speak your mind. For some of you, this comes easy, for others it is one of the most uncomfortable things you can think of. Speak up, when something bothers you. If your friend has hurt your feelings, let them know how you felt.
When my husband and I were seeing one another I was terrible at saying "no". He, being the amazing man that he is, told me to practice on him. He was a safe place for me for practicing using my voice. Now I say no all the time, but the first time I said "No" without any regret or guilt for saying it, it was groundbreaking for me.
We need friendships like this. If you have a few friends who you enjoy spending time with, but the friendships aren't as deep and meaningful as you would hope, begin by being open and honest. The amazing thing with this is that when you begin to open, others open in return. It will be scary for you because you have to take that leap first, but in the end it will be rewarding.
Remember, life is not perfect. We are not perfect. Let's embrace the imperfections together.
Choose Positive Friends
Let go of unhealthy friendships. We all have friends who drain us of our energy and zest for life whenever we hang out with them. These are the people we need to distance ourselves from. Give them a fighting chance to change, but know that some people simply thrive in negativity.
They may be longtime friends who you feel bound to. By being involved in these types of life-sucking friendships you are giving them the time and energy you use to make meaningful uplifting friendships.
Friendships come and go, that is the reality. Not every friendship will be life-long. People will move and no matter how much effort you put in, if it's never met halfway, it isn't worth it. Let it go. Trust that a new friendship will flourish in the old friendships place.
5. Be Intentional
Friendships are like plants; they require care, effort, the correct soil, amount of sunlight, and pest control. We often think they should just grow and develop on their own. Sometimes we get lucky and that happens, but most often though, you must tend to your friendships.
This is harder than ever because of social media. People have grown to think that texting is a proper form of communication that can create meaningful relationships. This couldn't be further from the truth. If you want real meaningful friendships, you must attend real events and have real conversations face-to-face.
Take time out of your life to spend time with your friends. No matter how busy you are, you can always make time. If scheduling a friend into your day is tough, and you can never find a time that works, maybe it is time to move on. If they are a strong confident, try giving them multiple dates and could work for you.
When you give them a lot of options this shows them you mean it, it is not just "We have to get coffee sometime," and then you never message them or call. This is an intentional "I want to spend time with you, let's make it happen."
Making meaningful friendships isn't easy, but it is worth it. You must begin from within. Develop a strong sense of self and create a foundation of confidence and openness that personal development helps create.
Be authentic and honest, be yourself 100% and the friendships will come. Let go of friendships and know that some friendships are meant to fizzle out and make room for new amazing people who are able to be a part of your life.
Do not leave everything in the hands of your friend. Friendships require a 100/100 give and take. Give your 100% and be intentional in setting aside time for your friendships.
Friendships require effort, but they will be much more fulfilling and meaningful. When you have a support system around you and life gets tough, they will be there, and you can give the same in return. That's what life is about.