How is the state of your friendships?
I’d like to share some friendship thoughts today to enhance your life.
I’ve previously shared strategies from positive psychologyto boost your well-being in life.
In case you’ve missed them, I’ll list them here:
I found this friendship poem, and thought it a fitting introduction to my thoughts about friendship:
What Is A Friend?
A friend is someone always there
in the back of your mind,
providing feelings of comfort and security.
A friend is someone
who adds happy sparkle to your life,
joy, fun, a predictable creator of happiness.
A friend is a stormproof shelter
from life’s challenges, troubles, uncertainties,
an unassailable bond overcoming any challenge,
strengthening the connection in the process.
You are all this and more, my friend.
By Joanna Fuchs
One of the key success factors to living life to the full is to nurture and cherish the friendships you have, as well as mending past friendships that may have fallen prey to busy-ness or neglect.
Friendship Thought #1: Here’s a Friendship Metaphor
Perhaps the most helpful thought I have about friendship can be better expressed in terms of a methaphor of gardening.
I don’t what it is about a garden, but dirt just seems to be so conducive to weeds. I’m not much of a gardener, but I do know that if you leave the dirt alone, weeds start growing. Also, bugs seem to invade gardens and eat the good plants. In just a matter of a few weeks, the sun can dry out the dirt, the weeks can use up the nutrients in the soil, and you’re left with dead plants and plentiful weeds.
It takes some knowledge and planning to make a garden work. You need to know which type of plants you’re going to buy; how to best tend to them; what types of fertilizer to buy to keep the weeds at bay.
You may need to admit that you don’t know all that it takes to grow a garden. Or that, like me, you don’t have a green thumb. You may need to admit that you’ve ruined plants in the past. And that you’re a little scared to try planting again.
Friendship Thought #2: Here are Some Friendship Building Activities
Dr. Gary Chapman has written a book called The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. While this book was primarily written for married couples, the concepts can apply to how you love your kids, your relatives, and your friends.
Consider calling your friends on a regular basis, to let them know you’re thinking of them and interested in their lives. Get to know their interests, hopes, dreams, and goals. Think about how you can help support them in those areas of their life. Be there to listen when they are going through difficult times.
Consider writing them to let them know how much their friendship means to you. A card, a poem, even an article that they might find helpful can go a long way to feed the garden of your friendship.
Acts of Service
It takes a selfless person to sustain an ongoing relationship. One of the best ways that you can fertilize the soil of your friendship is through acts of service. You may want to re-visit my post about 10 Acts of Kindness to Change the World for some ideas, but as you get to know your friend over months and years, you’ll have a pretty good idea as to which acts of service will mean the most to him/her.
Some people experience love through quality time spent together. I’ve been guilty of being too task oriented, losing myself in projects at the expense of spending time with my friends and family. But, at the end of your life, are you going to be more proud of the “things” you checked off of your to-do list, or will you be more satisfied with the quality of friendships you nurtured over your lifetime. Don’t put the cart before the horse! Make sure that you intentionally block out big chunks of time for your friends and family.
Friendship Thought #3: Restore Friendships That Are In Dis-Repair
Too often, our pride and expectations get in the way of repairing old friendships that have broken down due to lack of communication or effort. We may be too proud to look in the mirror and take note of blind spots in our own personal lives that may have gotten in the way of true friendship. Take an honest look at yourself. Ask other friends for feedback as to what character flaws may be getting in the way. Sure, it’s painful to look in the mirror and see the smudges on our face. But unless we look, we can’t wash our face 🙂
Sometimes, absolutely nothing needs to be said. The mere act of performing an act of service, or of picking up the phone, or of hanging out for a couple of hours may be all that is needed to get the bloom back in the friendship. But don’t leave it at that! Remember that a garden requires consistent effort and care.
What are your thoughts on nurturing and rebuilding existing and past relationships? I look forward to your comments!
photo credit: Anamorphic Mike