Friendship: Isn't it Time to Assess the Company We Keep?
A good chunk of our lives are tragically beyond our control. From delayed flights, to rained in BBQ’s... From an infant projectile vomiting on the subway, to a stomach bug during trips to the motherland in India… you catch my drift. So, since we’re so limited to what’s out of our control, why not focus on what is?
The energy you surround yourself with through friendships is totally up to you. Yet time and time again, we see people investing so much of their time into friendships that don’t even make them happy (I too, am admittedly guilty of this). Friends are optional — completely up to us!
So, why do we make these questionable life decisions?
Let’s start by looking at the importance of friendships.
Friends add meaning to our lives — We associate pivotal periods in our lives and pair fond memories with the buddies we were closest to during that time. Certain tastes, smells, songs, etc.
Friends are part of a sacred relationship, which you’ve constructed from your wants and your needs — They are homies that you confide in. You share secrets with them...ones that you guard so far deep in the inner depths of your soul, that you have to whisper them.
Matter of fact, Friends can be soul-mates too — You ever have a best friend who made your boo/significant other feel like a third-wheel? Yeah, that’s a thing. That’s real love. The comradery you share with one another feels magical sometimes, and you even have an unspoken language exclusive to only you and them.
Research shows they increase our longevity! — Having a strong social network makes for a healthier life and aids in reducing depression and anxiety. According to a report looking at studies over three decades on social relationships and morality included in the LA Times, social support could very well be the best medicine for a longer and healthier life1.
So, we’ve covered the importance of a healthy friendship.
Now, let’s look at how to assess the type of friendship you are in.
Just as friends can add to your life, on the flip side of the coin, they can also take away. All of us have experienced a toxic relationship in one form or another and know how draining it can be — I’m not even going to try to google statistics on the negative effects a toxic relationship has on you 😐. Take a moment to reflect on a friendship in your life to see whether its overwhelmingly blossoming?? Or is it toxic?!
SIGNS OF A BLOSSOMING FRIENDSHIP
• You feel heard
• They make you feel free of judgment
• You can be yourself around them
• They uplift & motivate you
• You feel loved and cared for
• They exude positive energy & high vibrations
• You can trust them
• They share your excitement
• They make time for you
• You enjoy their company
• They make you feel safe
• You can agree to disagree
• They contribute to your self growth
• They support your dreams
SIGNS OF A TOXIC FRIENDSHIP
• You feel unheard
• They’re pessimistic
• You feel judgement from them
• They take you for granted
• They do most of the talking & it’s mostly focused on them
• They use abusive language towards you
• They make you feel inadequate and diminished
• They give you unsolicited criticism
• You change yourself around this friend
• You can’t celebrate victories together because of possible inherent jealousy
• They attract unwanted drama to your life
• Unsupportive of your dreams
After reflecting on the points above, if you found yourself mentally checking off a lot of the signs from a blossoming relationship, keep that friend close ya lucky duck! This is a gem 💎 of a friend, exactly the type you want to hold onto tightly and the kind that stick around for life. Sure, in certain instances you’re bound to hit a speed-bump or two in your relationship or maybe they even check off one or two of the toxic signs… but if they genuinely fit even some of the blossoming signs, surely this friend is approachable for a constructive conversation.
Here’s an exercise I practice to assess the company I keep — try it out for yourself!
Step 1: Place yourself in a calm and relaxing environment to promote and allow yourself to think with ease and clarity.
Step 2: Make a list of all the meaningful friendships you currently have or have had in the past.
- Daenerys ⭐️
Blossoming: Humanitarian, very motivated, courageous, giving
Toxic: Attracts unwanted drama into my life
- Cersei ❌
Blossoming: good mother...??
Toxic: Selfish, will probably kill you 😒
- Jon ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Blossoming: Empathetic, understanding, etc., etc., etc.
Toxic: always brooding
Step 3: Under each name, list the blossoming signs or toxic signs which resonated with you the most OR are the causative factor you are or aren’t in a relationship with that friend.
a) Highlight and STAR those blossoming signs and teach yourself to make those signs a reality in all of your friendships!
b) As for the toxic signs — take a good look at those, and meditate on them. Your life is just too valuable and precious to be wasted on optional negative vibrations.
Step 5: Tape this list to your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, windshield, your own forehead, whatever it takes, really...until practicing those words in reality becomes achievable for you #yougotthis.
Every person you meet serves a purpose in your life — every interaction is meaningful.
I wasn’t always the best at choosing the right friends, and I’m almost positive I’ll make some more questionable life decisions. But I’ll also never regret any of the relationships I’ve had, for there is a valuable knowledge you can extrapolate from each unique friendship you’ve had.
Look, some relationships are round-trip journey’s and some are a one way flight with an open ticket. But just because a trip has ended, doesn’t mean you can’t reminisce on the good times. So, here's to all the blossoming and growing relationships🏅💯💥✨🌟🔥🎉🎈🎇🎆🌠.