In middle and high school, I was lonely. An only child in rural southern Indiana, I would dream about turning a field on our 14 acres into a baseball diamond > where all my classmates would come and play. I am an introvert, so this childhood dream surprises me.
I had a few friends, so I definitely wasn't friendless. But even through college and young adulthood, I felt alone and dis-connected much of the time.
Ever the late bloomer, I began to blossom more in my late 30's. That's when I started developing close friends... a lot of them. It's such a blessing to have all kinds of friends. I have friends that are parents, artists, yogis, rebels, introverts, extraverts, single, married, adventurers and shy.
Friends have definitely helped me find and feel more self-love. Here's what I've learned from being the lucky recipient of great friendships. I am happy to share these tip top tips with you!
1) Just listen. One of the best gifts I've ever received while living on this planet is the gift of being listened to. And it's more than being listened to... it's being heard. To be really heard is like having manna from heaven dropped on your head. To be a great friend, find your inner calm and don't jump in and say anything until there is a pause or until you are asked for input. Listen and hear!!
2) Don't judge - create an open space. It's so easy to offer advice, and to be a good friend means giving your friend safe space to be heard and not judged. It's easy to project our own wounds, opinions and judgements on others. To have a friend who listens and doesn't have to throw in their two cents worth is priceless. A huge part of being able to offer safe space to a friend is to do your own work. That way things don't trigger you and set you off!
3) Mutual caring. Being heard and feeling safe to be one's self - awww, relief! Top that off with a relationship that's mutually caring and you have a win-win-win! I sometimes hear people say they give more than they get in relationships. It's so exciting to be in relationships where there's an ease and no tit for tat. If you don't feel cared for, then focus your energies elsewhere. If you have to twist someone's arm to be your friend, what's the point??
You are worthy of tip top friends, and remember to always be a great friend to yourself too! That means listening to yourself, not judging yourself and having caring and compassion for you... then sharing that with those you love! XOX
Photo: I could picture so many amazing friends of me and Wanda. Our friend Bernice is generous, patient, encouraging and non-judgemental! List the qualities you want in your friends and then be those qualities!