Having an abundance of friends where interactions are based in love, care, support and value exchange is not a happening of chance, but a result of effort, consideration and creation. You create the world of people who surround you. Those friendships, like any relationship, take nurturing and nourishment to grow.
As I get older, I find that as my circle of acquaintances grows larger, my core group of really close, quality friends gets smaller and smaller. Perhaps it’s a natural evolution in life, or maybe it’s me realizing more and more that time is precious, and best spent on people you really love and care about. I haven’t always been like this, in fact, I used to try to give too much to too many, often feeling drained or exhausted afterwards. I learned to be conscious of whom you invest your energy in. I also learned that having a history with someone doesn’t automatically mean they should make it into your present day or future.
Today, I feel blessed and extremely fortunate to have the friends that I do, people who share a similar set of values, who are smart, loving, honest and just genuinely good at their core. My group of friends is of no accident, they are in my life because I attracted them, and treat them extremely well. To be honest though, I haven’t always been a good friend and have made many mistakes and have hurt people who have really loved me. Being a “good friend” is one part natural, but also something learned through mistakes and watching others interact in their friendships. Here are a few things I learned along the way:
Be honest. People can tell insincerity a mile away. When you try to be someone you’re not, it gets old fast. A lot of times people try to put up a facade to hide insecurity or to be liked, but people can see through it.
Don’t ditch your friends the minute you get into a relationship. I’ve had many friends (I’ve done this before and learned my lesson), who are your BFF when they are single, and the minute they hook up, they are completely MIA. What’s most annoying is, once they breakup, you are once again on their speed dial. What gives? Friends are not placed on a shelf until you need them next. Make the effort even when you have a significant other.
Under Promise, Over Deliver. Don’t tell someone you’ll do something and not follow through. It results in disappointment. It trains people to not take what you say seriously because you’re just a “talker”.
Don’t be cheap. There is a difference between being broke and being cheap. Being cheap is when you’re calculative and penny counting with your friends. It’s a mentality of “taking” and not getting burned versus sharing and being generous. Pick up the tab this time, next time he/she will. Trust, it all works out some way or the other in the end.
Bring Value. Ask yourself how you can bring value to enrich and help the people in you life, not just what you can get. If you go in with the mentality of what you can give, both sides will always win.
Get over yourself. I know people who are completely unaware that they spend every minute talking about themselves. Ask questions; be genuinely interested in your friends’ lives. Don’t ever just use your friends as a constant receiver of your bitchfests. Of course, once in a while this is going to happen, but if all you do is contact your friends to vent and complain, people are going to avoid you like the plague.
Put in the effort. Everyone is busy. Everyone has hectic schedules. It is your choice to make time and your choice to prioritize that time for the people who are important to you. Yes there are waves where keeping in touch is not the priority – that’s okay. But ultimately, effort and energy in trying to connect cannot be always be one sided.