Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sorry I've Been Gone...and How to Find and Maintain Great Friendships

Hey everyone!
Sorry I haven't been able to respond to comments for a while; I have been really busy with school and life in general, and up until now, I had not been struck by the inspiration to write a new article. I will get back to your comments as soon as possible, please be patient with me, and I hope that you leave my site feeling a little better.



How to Find and Maintain Great Friendships
No matter whether you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert, misunderstood or easy to get along with, everyone needs human connection and interaction. Our happiness is deeply linked to our connections with other human beings.

Although some spiritual teachers will propagate ideas that may lead you to believe that you don't need others to be happy because they are external and that true happiness depends only on what is found within, I must sincerely and clearly tell you that I really do think that humans are social creatures who thrive when committed to intimate relationships.

Friendships, or the illusion of friendships, can suck sometimes. Maybe you have been betrayed or abandoned by someone whom you considered a friend. Maybe you have put in great effort into developing a friendship only to see that the interest is not reciprocated. Maybe you have drifted away from a group of people who you used to considered home. These painful experiences can debilitate us socially and lead us to develop beliefs that we're outsiders or that we don't belong with other people. This belief can have the most convincing of arguments when our experiences give us so much proof and evidence that we really don't fit in with others, or that we're never understood or appreciated by others. This is the downfall of friendship. This belief will keep us from developing intimate relationships with others, and ultimately this belief will keep us from achieving our truest happiness.

I honestly think that people need true friends, or even just one. We starve ourselves if we think we can get by without intimate connections. We need to share ourselves with others and create roots and anchors in other people's lives, or else we become unstable and ungrounded and we easily float into waves of unhappiness and depression.

So, how do you create these roots of friendships? How do you go about finding the right people, and what do you do to help those roots grow strong and deep and healthy?

To have a true friend, one must be a true friend. I honestly don't think you can be someone's true friend if you've never been a friend to yourself first.

Be Your Friend First
It may sound weird, but befriending yourself opens up so many doors for self exploration and happiness. By befriending yourself, you give yourself the opportunity to really get to know yourself and treat yourself the way you want to be treated.
See yourself as a friend- would you treat a friend badly all the time and exist as a constant cloud of negativity, or narcissism? Would you treat your friend in unhealthy ways that prevents them from living a balanced life? Would you have crazy expectations for your friend and constantly judge them?

The truth is that we attract people into our lives based on our relationship with ourselves and the beliefs we hold. If you don't have a healthy relationship with your mind, heart, and body, and if you don't have healthy boundaries with yourself that allow you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and maintain freedom for playfulness and expansion, then you will attract relationships that mirror those aspects of your inner relationship back to you.

Also, be the kind of person you want to be friends with! This doesn't mean you need to "change who you are", but this means you can make choices that make you feel better and feel freer. Do you want to be friends with someone negative and constantly in need of reassurance? Probably not, because those people are emotionally draining. So if you want to instead be friends with someone fun and happy, you can choose to do things and pay attention to things that make you feel like you're having fun and help you be happy. It isn't complicated- just choose ways to be the person you want to be with.

Don't Expect Too Much
Friendships take time to develop. Although instances of magical rapport can happen between two strangers, it usually takes a few different occasions of getting to know one another to really establish a bond. Always do your best to fend for yourself and take care of your own needs so that you don't depend on a friend to fulfill your needs for you.

For example, if you don't pay attention to your own feelings and frequently recurring thoughts about a problem in your life, you might have the habit of constantly venting to a friend. You'll constantly need that friend to listen to you, and you might end up always venting to them that you don't even listen to what they have to say, or you pretend to listen but actually are just waiting for your turn to talk.

Some people take time to warm up, and that is fine, just be patient. Don't push and prod, and if you are the opposite of "pushing and prodding", maybe you expect others to do all the initiating. Why not invite someone to hang out or suggest a hang out or just strike up a conversation with them out of the blue through a thoughtful text or phone call?

Also remember, true friendship doesn't need constant communication. Everyone has different needs, but if you get really good at being with yourself, you won't be so hungry for connection. This means that connection really gets freedom and I promise, connections that come from a place of freedom get you the best results.

Be Honest and Set Boundaries
Set healthy boundaries and be honest with yourself- if a friend is talking badly or gossiping about someone who is their friend, you don't have to engage in that behavior. Don't do something just because your friend does it, and if that is all your friend wants to do, you don't have to be friends with them.

Be honest with yourself about what you like to do. It is so much easier to develop friendships over mutual interests and hobbies.

Also, don't be a doormat or pushover. A friend is not a slave or master, and a friend is not someone you need to impress or deserve. A friend is someone who you really like being around because being with them makes you feel good. True friendship does not drain you, except maybe physically if you like developing friendships over a fun sport.

Go With the Flow
Just relax into the whole friendship experience. Make the efforts that feel good to make, reach out and be there when you know you should be there. Stay positive and feel things out as they come, we all make mistakes and we can all learn from them. So I hope you find some really cool fun people to spend your time with and connect with.

Peace and love,
Wynona