I will start this out saying I am not a perfect friend.
And I will continue that by saying that while I am not the perfect friend, I do have some pretty high standards for the people I keep close relationships to. It all comes down to self-worth and the higher your self-worth is the better company you want to keep. And that’s why recently I’ve been sorting through good and bad friends in hope of keeping my circle up with my own self-worth.
First off, there are varying tiers of friends. I have acquaintances, go to dinner once a term friends, hang out once a week friends, and always depend on them friends. You don’t have to cut relations with people when you notice your friendship changing, you just have to demote or promote them depending on how your interactions with them go.
For me, a lot of my friendships have been changing. People who I put at the top tier of friendship have shown to not feel the same about me. People who I wasn’t very close with have shown to be someone to lean on. Some friends have shown that they don’t want to be friends. And there is nothing wrong with this. People grow and change and priorities differ from person to person. It’s nothing personal, we’re all 20-somethings trying to figure out the world. But I still think it’s something to talk about.
If you know me, you know that friendship is so important to me. I value each friend very highly, even the ones on lower tiers. Like I said, I’m not a perfect friend, but I try really hard to be the greatest friend I can, especially when people need one. But sometimes that isn’t reciprocated, and when that happens I tend to get a little bristly. There are several things that are essential to good friendship, and when only one party is putting it in while the other isn’t, sometimes that friendship isn’t meant to exist.
Here are the three essential things to a good, healthy friendship:
- Communication: There are two parts to this
- Talking about issues within the friendship. If someone feels hurt they need to say something, and if someone said something hurtful they need to apologize. It’s a two way street of talking about your feelings and thoughts so that things don’t grow and become worse.
- Equal communication. If only one friend is reaching out to talk, or even just to say hi, while the other does nothing back, your friendship is doomed to disintegrate. Both parties need to be in this communication process so that both parties feel valued. And if you’re the friend who sucks at texting back, make sure to make a little time in a day to respond to your friend, even if it’s just one text saying, “Hey I’m busy but I miss you” because otherwise the other party gets hurt when you don’t text back for two weeks.
- Respect: Every sort of healthy relationship on the planet thrives on respect. If you don’t respect your partner, how can it work? This can be as simple as not putting them down, or as complex as if they tell you they feel a way, respect it. Truth is, if they’re going out of their way to say they’re uncomfortable with something, it isn’t for selfish reasons. It’s hard to ask for your decisions to be respected, but to make something thrive there needs to be respect in the equation.
- Space: If your friendship can last with space between it, that’s great! Spacecan be location-wise, time-wise, or communication-wise.
- Location-wise: If you live far from your friend but still make the time to Skype or call or text fairly frequently and still feel involved in each other’s lives, your friendship is healthy. It’s hard to be hundreds of miles from friends, but the ones that last are the ones who keep in touch despite distance and busy schedules.
- Time-wise: We’re all going to have that friend who has no time to spend time with you. But that doesn’t mean a bad friendship. Good friendship is when, despite no time together, you two still text and try to make a time at least once a month to spend time together. A bad friendship is when that friend makes no time for your still, and then when they do spend time with you, they treat you like garbage because they don’t realize your friendship has changed since you never see them. It’s a messy, complicated area, but it will happen. Happened to me, and it stinks, but it shows true colours.
- Communication-wise: Sometimes there are gaps in how you talk to each other. Sometimes you have a friend who talks in a certain way (condescending, for example) and when you talk to them you just feel so bad about how they’re talking to you. And that will ruin a friendship. But if you can take that gap and turn it into open communication (see the first bullet of #1) your friendship can last.
And those are the three essentials to a friendship that can last. Of course, there are other little things that can change this, but those are the ones to focus on when you see friendships going down the drain.
It’s hard to see a friend go, or grow farther apart, but if you have put the effort in and it hasn’t been fixed, know that it isn’t the end of the world. Some people grow apart because of a lack of effort on both parties, or one party. Just know that the world is full of people, so you can make more.
If you have any questions about friendship, you can comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay classy, Internet,
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