Photo Credit: andthatswhoiam.com
Friends, how many of us have them? Friends, ones we can depend on? Yes, that was a line from the old song called Friends by Whodini . There are many definitions of friends, and I personally believe there are levels of friendships. No matter what level or definition, we ALL need them…because that’s just the way it is. None of us are an island, not needing someone we can share, laugh, cry, bond, work, etc. with. Have you asked yourself, “Why don’t I have friends?” It bothers me when I hear people (usually women) say “I don’t have any friends”…especially if they are over the age of 20. Women usually avoid other women as friends, because we are in constant competition with each other. As if there is only so much “woman space” on the planet and we need to claim our spot!
Think back to when you were are child…for the most part, finding friends was a weird and scary experience. You didn’t know who you were, and you were trying to find your way. Some kids were better at it than others and could be friends with anyone almost instantly. As a kid, the group you played with today may not be the same group you have tomorrow. You dealt with the constant shift and changes of friends better (especially as a military kid.) As you get older, and learn more about YOURSELF and what makes you tick and tock, you get more and more selective about whom you let in your circle of friends and trust. Your circle expands in your youth and tends to shrink over time.
If you are one of those people that has NO friends, sister circle, village, tribe, etc. and you’re telling yourself, “I don’t need friends”, “I like being alone” or my favorite, “women are too shady and catty,” this may be for you. You don’t have friends because it’s YOUR fault! I have jotted down 5 commonalities amongst the women I hear make these statements.
Disclaimer, I believe collectively women have the amazing ability to turn the world right side up…seeing as how it only took one to turn it upside down!
- You may be close-minded and selfish; you don’t know how to accept feedback or criticism from others. You often believe your way is “the” way and seldom allow others to pour into your life. You don’t like being told you’re wrong or out of line, and it causes friction in your relationships.
- You may expect too much from people, and likely too much of yourself. You often expect others to give, think, speak, act, and love just like you do. If you’re the type that wears your heart on your sleeves, or you’re a bleeding heart…chances are you get very disappointed when you discover everyone ISN’T!
- You hold grudges and don’t forget or forgive easily. Holding a grudge against someone is like you drinking poison and expecting the other person to die…it makes absolutely NO sense. Let it go, forgiveness has NOTHING to do with them and everything to do with the energy you create for yourself. Release the negative energy that is anger and grudges.
- You may be a control freak. You like to be in control of everything and everyone. You often confuse this with being a leader or a “go-getter” and get frustrated when others drag their feet on a task or don’t meet your time lines. This is fine as an employer, but not so much as a friend. Your friends are NOT your employees or your children, they don’t have to run every area of their life past you, or meet your unrealistic expectations. You have to give your friends the freedom to be who they are, and not what you want them to be.
- You may not be an affective communicator and don’t understand the art of conflict resolution. Sometimes it’s hard to put emotions into words, you get all flustered and before you know it…you’re angry and start to shut down. You can’t hear what’s being said by the other person, because you are so consumed with your emotions. Everyone won’t agree with everything you have to say…and that’s ok. You can have a respectful debate with a friend without trying to change their mind or have them see things your way. Every debate doesn’t end with “I’m glad you agree,” and again…that’s ok. Stop thinking that just because you’re passionate about a subject or you feel a strong conviction about it, that you’re automatically right. You may be right, but you can’t force people to see things your way…if that’s your friends accept their position and move on.
Relationships are complicated, whether personal, romantic, or professional…they all require work! People come into our lives for a reason and a season…just let it happen organically and allow people to be authentically who they are in your life. Surround yourself with people that build you up and seek to make a lasting impact on the planet. Surrounding yourself with people that have a different opinion than yours, is a sign of maturity. It stretches you and forces you to think outside of your place of comfort. I’m not saying you have to accept anything less than respect in your relationships. Know there is a difference between a toxic relationship and “ying/yang” relationship.
Make sure you create a space for yourself that not only allows you to be your amazing authentic self, but allows others to do the same! You’ll be a better friend, mother, daughter, and sister for it.
Happy friend shopping!