Cultivating and maintaining great friendships is one the most important things you can do in life. These relationships are so valuable. As I work on my friendships (and like all relationships, there is a good amount of work involved), I try to think of the friendships that are working and how I can be a better friend myself.
Guest post by Maxie McCoy
Friendships are a constant in our life from a very young age. We move from friends in the neighborhood to friends at school to friends from work to just plain grown-up friends. And while that linear progression makes friendship seem like a walk in the park – we all know through our own tribulations with making friends, keeping friends, or maintaining a healthy friendship…that it can be hard work.
The amazing thing about maturing, however, is you realize that while friendships might be a constant and necessary aspect of your life, you do get to choose who those friends are. You begin to understand that one of the most important decisions you make (and then continue to make every day) is who you spend your time with.
I always look at my friendships through a lense of do they energize me? Or do they drain me? The latter normally comes from drama, pessimism, pettiness, and conversations and priorities that I just don’t have time for anymore. But your energizing friends…oh, you just know. These people leave you with so much joy, love, and optimism (even if the conversations are tough and the things you are going through are a struggle).
None of us are supposed to do this life thing alone. We need our community, whoever we choose that to be. Friendships are an important choice. So when you’re looking at who you’re surrounding yourself with, look for these people:
The friend that believes in you… encouragement is such a potent life force. Sometimes, we need our friends to believe in us so that eventually we can see what they see. They set the bar. And often, with their confidence, anything will seem possible.
The friend that champions you… they’ll open the doors that you need opened. Because often the keys to where we want to be are held in the hands of the friends that love us the most. From business opportunities to introductions to reviewing your resume in their spare time, these friends show up to help.
The friend that will always listen… because so often we just want to be heard. Really, truly heard. And we may just need to talk it out, cry it out, and not have someone on the other side giving us all kinds of advice that we never asked for.
The friend that makes you laugh…meaning you’re always laughing with them. They laugh big and they laugh easily and before you know it, you’re loosened up and laughing like that too. Because laughter is some real medicine. We all need the friends that help us lighten up.
The friend that doesn’t judge, ever… because you will not always say the right things. You will not always make the best decisions. You will not always be perfect and presentable. And that’s OK. You need someone that will hold space for all of your imperfections and not throw judgment your way.
Whether you have a treasure chest of these friends or need to do some work to find and deepen these friendships, knowing what you need is always an important first step in finding it. No matter where you’re at, though, don’t miss a beat in telling the good friends you do have how much you love and appreciate them for doing all of the above and so much more.