Desiring Genuine Friendship? Look for People Who Support & Challenge You
Social media has dramatically changed the idea of friends. You friend someone by simply clicking a button. Every day, your number of friends grows. You never meet face to face and you may not say a word directly to them. They know far more about you than you know of them…but they’re your friends. And if you feel like it, a push of a button unfriends them. Is that what you would call genuine friendship?
I’m sure you recognize the difference between social media ‘friends’ and genuine friends. But could the way we treat social media friends be creeping into how we treat our true friends, perhaps even damaging those relationships?
Don’t misunderstand…I think the internet is good for connecting us with people who have common interests. However, most of the time it results in weak bonds. Strong bonds — close, trusting and deep friendships — require physical interaction and a lot of work. I love what Maya Angelou said,
“Friendship takes work. Finding friends, nurturing friendships, scheduling face time, it all takes a tremendous amount of work. But it’s worth it. If you put in the effort, you’ll see the rewards of positive friends who will make your life extraordinary.”
We too readily use terms like “good friend” or “close friend” with people. For the most part, the people we meet are just acquaintances or professional relationships. Genuine friendship is based on a feeling of love, acceptance, vulnerability, trust, honesty, support, commitment, security and loyalty. True friendships are built over time and through experience, as we are tested by adversities and prove to be inseparable. Octavia Butler explains how time is so important for friendships:
“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.”
Genuine friendship is not about giving and taking in equal shares. We’re there for each other when needed, no matter what. And even if you haven’t seen each other for years, you can pick up where you left off, as if no time has passed.
To have genuine friendships, work on being a genuine friend
As genuine friends, we avoid gossip and negativity, because we know how destructive they are. We see and love our friends for who they are. The last thing we want to do is hurt a friend, so we filter our speech and actions through the lens of how it will be perceived by the friend. We work hard to talk about positive, meaningful things without judgment, harsh criticism, or put-downs. And If destructive emotions and thoughts arise, like jealousy, we look inwardly to see what’s going on with us, rather than blaming others.
To have another woman support you, believe in you, and challenge you to achieve your dreams is a priceless gift you give to yourself. Throughout a lifetime, we may acquire only a handful of true friends, and that’s okay. I’d love to hear about your genuine friendships. Are they lifelong friends? Did you meet through your business? Please feel free to leave a comment on Facebook or LinkedIn. And if you want to talk about how to start, improve or maybe even end a friendship, take advantage of a 30-minute complimentary consultation so we can explore a coaching relationship.
Thank you for the photo Lucas Lenzi.