By Amanda Fox
Best friends are a funny thing. Over the course of most of our lives, we move in and out of them like clothing. It fits at the time and we like the way it looks and feels, but eventually we grow and even though we like it, it may not fit, look or feel as good as it once did. The best friend you had at 5 likely wasn’t your best friend at 16 or 25 or 40. While we don’t put people out on the porch for the Goodwill pickup like we might do with clothes we’ve outgrown, we often definitely do something that is emotionally similar – even if it is our best friend.
The thing is, growth is not bad. Sure people do grow apart sometimes, but is it really a given that growing in different directions means you also grow apart? Isn’t diversity and change the spice of life? If you can agree with that, we’re on the same page and here are some tips you can use to create a more meaningful relationship with your best friend that stands the test of time and change.
- Be a giver. Don’t think in terms of what someone else can provide for you, think in terms of what you can do for them. You have to be willing to give of yourself to create a solid foundation.
- Surround yourself with genuine people. No one has time for fakes, head gamers and fair-weather friends that bolt the first time something gets rough. Refuse to give those people your mind space. Stick to people that really do want to be with you!
- Stay off the negatives. To be blunt, we all shit and it stinks. Everyone has some baggage, annoying habits or quirks that we just don’t get. If we allow our self to focus on those to the point we miss all the good qualities they have to offer, we’re missing everything.
- Really get to know each other. You can’t really learn about a person just looking at their posts on Facebook and assume you know everything about them you need to and don’t judge anyone by superficial appearances. When all you know about someone is what you see on the outside you aren’t building a friendship, you’re making a connection. Friends, get under the surface and see what else is really there.
- Share! Share your life. Share your hopes, fears, failures, successes and the little things that make you tick. If you don’t have that one person you can go to with anything, you have nothing. Sharing isn’t always easy, but it’s that allowing yourself to be completely open and vulnerable that creates bonds that stand the test of time.
- Trust! It cannot be said enough that trust is a must. Without that big capital “T” in Trust, you’ve got rust and that ain’t gonna last. You have to know that whatever you say stays with your friend and similarly, you have to do the same. It’s more than that though, as trust is all encompassing. It is one thing you cannot afford to lose at any cost.
- Be there when things get rough. Everyone is going to go through rough times and need support. A best friend is there without judgment, “I told you so”, or criticism. They lend and open ear, support, maybe even a spare room without question. Whatever is needed to get you through, they do it!
- Ask for help! By the same token, when you hit the rough patches, don’t hesitate to ask for help. There is no weakness or shame in saying you need a hand and a best friend will be there willingly. A real best friend would be offended you didn’t ask for help!
- Be honest. This comes into play in everything! If someone is a best friend, you don’t need to lie. You don’t need to filter what you say. You just say it like it is. Sometimes that may be uncomfortable, even painful, but once you start holding back you don’t stop. You regress instead of grow.
Even with this advice, there is no guarantee you will never outgrow a best friend. The reason is both parties have to be on this same page. Both have to be willing to give more than they receive. Both have to be willing to walk down sometimes dark and uncomfortable roads. The thing to keep in mind is that if you’re doing it right, you’re never alone. You always have your best friend at your side, willing to take your hand, to help guide you where you need to be. If you have that, you have everything.
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