The Secret to the Having the Richest Friendships
My friendships are so freaking important to me
I’ve not always been or had the greatest friends, but here in my thirties, I have such rich friendships and I think I’ve discovered the secret to having the best, most supportive friendships of your life. I’d love to share this secret with you, because I want you to have the happiest life available to you and friends are a huge piece of that jigsaw.
First, though, let me address a few housekeeping issues with respect to our little community here:
A) In spite of my recent posturing about avoiding illness, I went down hard yesterday with a head cold. Happens to the best of us. It’s not that I don’t believe everything I wrote about self-care and it’s close relation to Cold Prevention, and it’s not that I won’t continue practicing these tricks while in the midst of my cold, all it does mean is that sleep depo got the best of me and the germies won this round. So if my grammar is slightly off, throw me a bone? Just for today? (And, perhaps, tomorrow).
B) For those of you who’ve been wondering, yes, I’ve kept up on my vow to write every day in 2015. I haven’t put as much work into my large project as I had intended to (self-check alert!) but I’ve been having so much fun hanging out with all of you here at clumsygrace.com that, honestly, I’ve been focusing most of my creative efforts there.
Last, but not least…
C) I have something so exciting coming up in the early spring. I’ll give you a hint: it’s going to involve my bff, Brenda over at Past Life Tourist. We’re just finalizing some deets, but keep an eye on both of our pages (and social media) for something so rad to drop in the next few weeks.
And, so that’s where you find me.
These days, when I get sick, I tend to get a bit sucky too. I try to make it a deeply reflective time, because I don’t believe that I get sick for no reason. It’s almost always Life trying to tell me something. Maybe all that this current cold has to tell me is that I have a small baby and a second grader and my husband works away for weeks at a time. At the very least, having taken the best care of my self possible leading up to it, I can work through a process of elimination.
I have a close handful of friends with whom I check in nearly every day and, upon hearing about my sniffles, they were all so kind and sweet and helpful. I’m so super grateful for everything that they add to my life, both individually and as a wonderful collective.
As I said earlier, there is much emphasis on romantic relationships in our society. This was certainly the case for me. I have been guilty of putting my relationships with men over my relationships with friends in the past. I’ve taken friendships for granted and failed to maintain them. Sometimes, I’ve lost friends because of something I’ve done that is totally worth un-friending and sometimes, I feel like I’ve been un-friended unfairly. I suspect this is true for most of us.
“life is a series of hellos and goodbyes” – Billy Joel
When I found myself unexpectedly single in my late twenties, with a small child, I wised up really f*cking quickly when it comes to the importance of friendship. For that matter, when I finally did get it right when it came to partnering, a long-standing friendship with my (now) husband was a huge selling feature.
Fact: Friends are da bomb
secondary fact: Now that I’m in my thirties, I can safely say “da bomb” without worrying that anyone will think I’m saying it non-ironically. Right?
Friends keep us anchored to the shore when we’re adrift. They love us when it’s hard to love ourselves. One of Life’s greatest compliments is, “You’re an awesome friend.”
It’s no secret that in order to have a good friend, it’s crucial to be one. Or is it? Have I blown your mind by saying that?
Assuming that we’re all on the same page with the whole “be a good friend = have a good friend” premise, the question that begs to be asked next is:
How can I be a good friend?
Let’s just throw out some qualities of a good friend, so that we know how to define it for ourselves.
A good friend is:
– Unconditional in their love for us
With that definition in mind, let’s circle back to our quandary: How can we have good friends? Answer: by being a good friend.
So, here it is. The Secret to Having the Richest Friendships of your Life…
Be a good and loving friend to yourself
Nothing I’ve said thus far is particularly earth-shattering, but I think it’s really easy to forget to apply the simple definitions of what makes a good friend to ourselves.
A few ways to be a great friend to yourself:
– Take yourself to the movies. This was one of my favourite bad-ass moves when I was single. It’s an immensely freeing practice. If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend it. It’s good to be able to have fun on your own.
– And while you’re at it, take yourself for dinner too. These are practices, not only for when you’re single, but when you are happily ensconced in a relationship as well. Any kind of friendship requires regular maintenance.
– Make sure you’re taking good care of your body. Do I mention this one a lot? Good. That’s because it’s super important. Eat well, exercise, get as much sleep as possible, and get outside.
– And while we’re on that subject, get dressed up for yourself. I’m into sweats as much as the next gal, but if you only ever put on mascara for a man, you’re sending yourself the signal that you’re not worth being pretty for.
– Make your space beautiful. This one was so key for me. De-clutter and redecorate as much as your budget allows so that your home is a haven that represents you.
– Talk nice to you. We used to do this thing in our house when our daughter was young. If she ever said something mean about herself, we made her say, “Sorry, self.” It’s important to say kind things to yourself. Remember that you can’t be kind to others in a really genuine way while internally flogging yourself. It’s impossible. Because physics.
– Get inspired. It’s harder to make friends as an adult. But if you get out and join a book club or learn to speak Spanish or take a yoga class, you’re going to meet like-minded individuals. Even if they don’t become lifelong friends, socializing begets socializing.
– Say yes (and mean it), say no (and mean it). Regardless of whether you’re RSVP-ing “yes” or “no” to an invitation, make sure the “yes” is to your self as often as possible.
The most important thing we can do to make friends with ourselves is to learn to like being alone. A solid friendship with yourself allows you to be more connected with others.
I’m grateful for you, my friends in Interweb-land, who stick by me when I have a NeoCitran hangover and can’t string sentences together. This gal is going to be friendly to herself by heading to bed with a coffee and a few episodes of Homeland.