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 situation. 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.
♥ 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
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. 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:
Is anyone else having fun comparing their journal entries with MYLA 2010? I am! This one in particular highlighted how I have managed to bring new positive relationships into my life, give more to my friendships, and change my priorities. I love it when a plan comes together...!