Dealing with friendships and relationships
It is often said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.
Think about who those five people are for you – are they friends, colleagues, partners or parents? And what do these relationships mean to you?
When we think of the word ‘relationship’, we immediately think about a partner, spouse, parent or perhaps even our children. Most of us believe that relationships are with people we are ‘related’ to by birth, marriage or love. Friendships are considered a bit different – we choose our friends and can be ourselves around them, without the responsibilities, obligations and duties that come with being a parent, spouse or child.
A friendship is as deep and real as any other relationship
But if you think about it deeply, friendships and relationships both have the same DNA – they are an interpersonal connection between two people who care about each other.
I often go back to the story of a young woman I had known, embarking on a prestigious career as a lawyer. Growing up, she had been bullied at school and picked upon. As the single child of a single mother, she didn’t have it easy. And yet, the strong and understanding relationship between mother and daughter buoyed her through tough times. Their relationship was testament that a parent and child can be the best of friends – if there is genuine compassion and a lack of judgment.
That’s what true friendships are – an authentic relationship where two people support each other without judging their habits or behaviors. Where they support each other through thick and thin, because they want to – not because they feel obliged to.
So, yes – your mother, sister or even your colleague can be your best friend – as long as both of you respect, cherish and nurture the relationship you share.
But all friendships can get tricky sometimes
We’ve all been there. We’ve fought with our best friends, feuded over the smallest things. We need to remember that we often fight most with the ones we care about the most – because their opinions and thoughts matter more to us.
As human beings, we are all unique and have a unique way of looking at things. Dealing with other people is often difficult, but it’s not impossible. There are some things you can keep in mind:
- Recognize that you both have different perspectives, and you don’t need to look at the world in the exact same way.
- If things become heated during an argument, stand back and think before you speak or raise your voice.
- Communicate openly and respectfully, instead of walking away or choosing to ignore the situation.
- Be honest if you feel like you cannot blindly follow the same path as your friend – there is no compulsion.
- Focus on the little things – like remembering their birthdays and taking out the trash, if you live with them. The most meaningful relationships are built on those little things, and not grand gestures.
- Respect, cherish and value the relationship – above all, practice forgiveness.
Forgiving those we love can be the most humbling and rewarding experience. We all deserve a second chance, and forgiveness is the best gift friends can give to one another.
When we are young, friends are many, and can be counted on our fingertips. But as we grow older, true friends are those who stick around and can count upon each other. So, cherish the relationships you have and let them your friends know how much you appreciate them!
With decades of experience behind me, I provide coaching on relationships and authentic living for audiences across the world. To attend a session by one of the most inspirational speakers in India and worldwide reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.