When it comes to being a good friend, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the situation. During different times in our life, we have the capacity to give different things to those we consider close. But at its core, being a dependable, loyal, and loving friend requires more effort than just showing up when it's convenient for us. With a little reflection and intention, we can nurture our friendships so that we can be true sources of support and joy.
We may feel as though we are ‘rubbish’ friends because our priorities haven’t been nurturing these relationships as much as they should be. And while this feeling is valid, it doesn't define who you are or your potential to be an inspiring support system. Instead, it's an opportunity to accept where you are and delve deeper into how best to provide value to those important in your life.
Part of showing up as a true and solid friend is developing a strong understanding of our own needs and wants, as well as the needs and wants of our friends. This level of clarity ensures that both parties are able to express themselves honestly, receive and offer meaningful advice appropriately. It’s not about transforming ourselves into cookie-cutter ‘friends’, but rather gaining an appreciation for our individual nuances, perspectives, and approaches to relationships.
Another integral part of being an attentive friend is the practice of self-awareness. Understanding our own thought processes, feelings, and motivations helps keep us conscious of our shortcomings and the areas for growth, whether that be in terms of communication, listening more actively, or offering kindness. This kind of insight allows us to draw on our agency and listen with empathy.
Finally, gratitude should also play a major role in maintaining meaningful friendships. Expressing appreciation and admiration for our inner circle carries immeasurable benefits – both for them and ourselves. Taking notice of our friends’ actions can go a long way in deepening our connection and strengthening our bonds.
Turning around your self-concept as a friend doesn't happen overnight. However, with intentional and mindful effort, you can create meaningful relationships with those you hold dear. Going beyond superficial obligations and putting in the work to care for those beloved to us can bring a tremendous amount of fulfilment into our lives, now and in the future.
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