QUESTION: Are friends important to you? And if so, what is their role?
I think this question would be answered differently for each of us depending on which friend you’re talking about, how much you’re invested in that relationship, along with the personality traits you hold.
If you’re the type of person who only spends time with friends on special occasions or during moments with other people, such as an exercise or craft class, a nightclub, or other venue, then perhaps you’re commitment to those friendships might not be as significant to you as that special someone who you spend a majority of your time with or you have a history with.
If you’re the type of person who’s outgoing and active in the social world, your main companions might be your friends and that makes them essential to you. Whereas, if you’re someone who enjoys spending all your free time alone, friends could be the folks you enjoy spending time with, but your preference and time is at home or some other locality. That doesn’t mean that if you’re a loner you don’t need friends too, just that they might not be as critical to your happiness as those who thrive on social gatherings or pal time. Even I enjoy spending a lot of time by myself, but I still get anxious when I haven’t seen my gal-pals in a while. And some of those friends are crucial to my well-being.
Women give a lot of their time and spirit to their relationships; from their partners, friends, coworkers, family, and even acquaintances. You probably pride yourself on pleasing everyone by going the extra mile for those connections. Unfortunately, when you try to do it all, someone might go off your radar screen at times. Sometimes they are your close, personal friendships. While you know it’s important to preserve that steady circle of friends, you still can set them aside from time to time. Without being aware, you might even lose a relationship because so much time has passed.
If your friendships are deteriorating because you can’t do anything without your man, or because spending time with friends wreaks havoc at home, then you have a problem that needs handled. Whatever the reason for your weakened friendships, you’re hurting everyone involved—especially you. This is not about hanging out every night with your gal-pals if you have other relationships to tend to, but you do need to make time to nourish those pertinent friendships.
When you have valuable friendships, you take on the responsibility to be giving of yourself. You will be there to lend an ear or a hand when necessary, you enjoy laughter and joy, and sometimes you take on a friend’s sorrow and pain. Of course, you don’t take on their problems, but you are there as part of their support. Hopefully you have more good times than bad, but all the moments are important. Your goal is to be there for your friends as much as you can without forgetting yourself.
Good friends lend perspective to the variety of relationships you have in life; yours, theirs and ours. When you give yourself enough room to tend to your friendships, they develop your character and self-esteem. Those close, personal interactions become part of you and your world and you love them all the more for it.
Another factor in being a good friend is to be understanding. Recognizing the needs of one another, along with the needs you both have to other connections in life. For instance, one of you may enjoy making plans ahead of time, while the other appreciates living in the moment and planning as she goes. One of you may have a partner or children that need tending to, while the other has responsibilities and relationships that require her time—both of you as friends appreciate and respect those requirements.
Whatever your situation is, friends are friends even without constant connection. Sometimes you get together, while other times you only talk on the phone, text or email. Friendships, just like your other relationships, go through change as time passes by. With each new person included in your little world, and as both of you change and grow in different ways, the ability to adjust is important. Good friends make that work. When you’re knowledgeable about who you are and who you want to share your life with, you still guide your ship in the direction you want.
One of the finest gifts you can give yourself, your friends, and your mate is the value and stability of good friendships. Men who understand and respect that you have other relationships in life—besides him—are wonderful to love. Whether it’s a night out, or a lunch break or shopping spree, time with friends is a special time. You can’t take them for granted because they are part of who you are, and if you’ve spent a lot of your time with them already, they’re probably part of who you’ve become.
When you choose who to keep close to you, be conscious of the friends with positive influence. Having optimistic, fun-loving friends is a blessing for your healthy balance. You don’t want to find ways to diminish your friendships, but you do want to choose as you would your mate. Being a good friend requires guidelines, support, proper influence, patience, and encouragement for the accomplishments and challenges you face. Friends are there to encourage and inspire you. They don’t persuade you to be unethical or place harsh judgments on you—or those you love.
You can only have a good friend if you are a good friend. Plan a night out every month where you go to dinner, a movie or bowling. Any venture that all of you enjoy. You will come home a happier person with some girl time under your belt.
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