Hey, friends! Today’s post is one I’ve been really looking forward to sharing because it’s a topic that has come up in my life a lot lately. I used to like to think that no matter how old I got, I’d never let anything get in the way of my friendships because they’ve always been so important to me. Well, fast-forward to moving to another state, getting married and just wanting to spend more of my free time with D and our families, and I’m struggling. It made me think, OK Brighton, what can you do better? Like what are some simple things I can give to the girls in my life that mean so much to me so that when we do have time to spend together or get to talk on the phone, I’m being the best friend possible. This is what I came up with:
Ask if they want advice or someone to simply listen
I put this one first on the list because it’s one of the most important things I’ve learned about being a good friend in the last few years. In the past, I feel like I’d “add my two cents” or share an opinion that wasn’t really being asked for. I was just trying to help, but sometimes that’s not what people are looking for out of a conversation with a friend, they simply want someone to vent to – someone to hear them. So, as weird as it might sound, if you have a friend that needs a minute to just let things out, ask her first if she wants advice or just someone to vent to/listen.
This is a BIG one. Try your hardest not to judge anything your friend is saying at face value. Trust me, I of all people know that saying things correctly or getting things across the way you intend them to sound doesn’t always happen on the first try, so keep an open mind. Now more than ever I’m learning the importance of having tough conversations with friends and family and going into those moments with a non-judgemental mentality will make it a lot easier to be willing to learn from what your friend is saying. Plus I think it will make them more comfortable talking to you moving forward, knowing they can be honest and you won’t judge them for it.
At the end of the day, try thinking of it this way: I know I have things to work on, so that means other people probably have things they’re working too. Assume positive intent, keep an open mind and ask questions.
Encourage them to step outside their comfort zone
As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that something I personally love most about some of my best friends is when they push me to do something I’d usually shy away from. Whether it’s work-related, personal or something silly like trying a new kind of food, it’s super refreshing to have people in your life that encourage you to step outside your comfort zone. For example, to put this into action, the next time a friend asks you if they should go out on that potentially awkward blind date or stay home, encourage the date! Or if they want to change up their career path, help them figure out how they can make it happen. We all need a push in the right direction sometimes and being the friend who does that will mean a lot I think.
Prioritize your friendship
It really is true what they say about actions speaking louder than words and showing up for your friend and making the relationship a priority means a whole lot in my opinion. I know defining your priorities can be tricky (read the post I linked to for help on this!), but going through everything you have going on in your life can help you find the areas where you’re not giving enough and where you’re giving too much. If friendship is one of the areas lacking, time to reevaluate and make a change. Definitely taking my own advice on this one!
Give your friends grace
And on the flip side, you know how you can get busy and not prioritize friendships? Well, that happens to other people too. And the best thing you can do in these instances is to not hold it against them. The older everyone gets the more they probably have going on, especially when you factor in kids, so give your friends the grace you’d hope they’d give to you. We’re all doing our best, right?
I hope these thoughts are helpful! Do y’all want more talk on friendships? Things have really changed for me a lot in this department over the last year between moving and getting married, so I’d love to have more conversations about how you guys maintain friendships and also grow as a friend too. Let me know!
Brighton Your Day
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