Sunday, 17 January 2010

Focus on Friendship


Image thanks to preciuos

“A good friend is a connection to life - a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.” 
Lois Wyse

Humans are social creatures. No matter how introvert you think you are, the likelihood is that you benefit from social encounters. Without fulfilling relationships, we can become bitter and self-concerned in a world that needs us to be thinking about each other, now more than ever.

Good social skills may or may not have come naturally to you in the past. I know that, for me, they have been something I’ve had to work on and improve, but you have perhaps built long-term, beneficial friendships quite easily. For particularly driven individuals, friendship can often take a back seat; we often forget the value of friends until we find we really need them, and this is certainly the wrong way to go about things. But, whatever your previous track record, good friendship-building skills can be acquired just like any other skill, if you’re willing to make it your focus.

Before we can move forward into building friendships, however, we must, to put it bluntly, ‘take stock’ of our present situations. Consider the true value of your current friendships; we are products of our surroundings and, whilst positive people encourage our own positivity, negative people often perform the opposite function. Friendships can take a lot of energy to maintain, so make sure that the input of energy is equal between the two of you, and that you are being valued as much as you are valuing the friend.

Although it is difficult, cutting loose previous, oppressive friendships can often be the key to moving forward into brighter, lighter, more fulfilling relationships. Though I’m not encouraging hastiness in this arena, we should always feel it is in our power to maintain strong, abundant ties, and let go of sour, destructive ones – because these don’t help you, or the other person.

Summary:

♥ As a social species, we benefit from regular, friendly interactions
♥ Social skills may or may not be your strong point, but you can improve upon them like any other skill
♥ Make sure you know and feel the value of your friendships, and are prepared to let go of any that are thankless

Homework:

♥ Take action on your friendships

In your notebook, write five things you could do to improve your friendships. Often, we feel we owe a lot to a friendships when, in reality, the other person may not be so worthy. So, take the opportunity to be a little selfish in this writing, really focusing on what you get from the friendship (we will talk more about not being selfish in articles to come, but I feel it is a valuable angle from which to start to study our friendships).

If you are not really gaining anything from a friendship, say so. If you want to get more from it, how could you go about that? How could you be making more effort? Is that effort worthwhile? What do you need from your friendships? Are you getting that? How could you get more? Perhaps by giving more yourself? Who currently feels like your ‘best’ friend? Why? Are you a lazy friend or a proactive one? – Ponder all of these questions and come up with five ‘action’ points. See my example:



As you can see, I didn't write anything too negative, this is perhaps because I have already let go of some negative relationships and feel that the ones I currently have require more work from me to improve. Share what you discover!

P.S. I know I've adandoned the Salute two weeks running - I've just totally forgot each time, but I now have a bookmarks list that is positively jam-packed for next week!

P.P.S. Important announcment coming later today... Be excited, be very excited.

3 comments:

kuulua said...

Wow Megan this one came just in time for me :D I've just moved across the country for University and realised it's time to let go of some friendships and work harder and others and this really helps put it all inspective for me. Thank you!

Eternal*Voyageur @ Venusian*Glow said...

Ever since I've moved, I'd lost some less fulfilling friendships while maintaining the valuable ones... and my new friend are delightful. I have realised that I need to lecture them less though...

Jessica Bignell said...

Hey,

I love this post, you've made me realise that a lot of friendships are taken for granted and that sometimes you expect things to happen without any work from you, sooo I've decided to put a lot more effort into the relationships I have especially the really good ones :) Thank you xx

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