There have been several friends…
I’ve met throughout my life journey and were close to at one point or another. Some began as the classic young, wild and fun friendships filled with nights that went well into the wee hours and were focused around strong alcoholic drinks (redbull and vodka) and dancing on the bar tops (thank God there was no Facebook during those days). Others were developed through work or volunteer/charity events as we spent a significant amount of time together during a certain period of my life and bonded through teamwork. For some friendships our interests changed over time, no longer similar, making me come to the realization that embracing the evolution of friendships is embracing your own self growth.
Why do friendships evolve and grow (or not grow) over time?
How do you maintain harmony with all people you come in contact with?
How do you foster those friendships that support You in your work-life goals and vice versa?
Understanding the evolution of friendships starts with…
It takes Two for a Friendship to continuously be mutually beneficially
It’s picking up the phone when your friend needs an ear
It’s asking questions about who they are (beyond surface level)
Its learning what their dreams and fears are
It’s asking what their childhood was like
It’s knowing their crazy pet peeves
It’s mutually setting healthy boundaries and being respectful of each other
It’s about giving your time to them and letting them know how much they mean to you. It’s about being vulnerable with them, sharing your life story and feeling safe… a feeling I only started to understand the last few years.
So how do you know when you have grown out of a friendship and it’s time to move forward with or without them? If you’re saying the following to yourself, it’s a sign:
“She’s always doing this to me….”
“This is the last time I put up with this, because…”
“I’m always there when my friend needs me, but when it’s my turn I feel…”
“All she does is talk, talk and talk…”
“She always has a negative opinion on…”
FOUR key takeaways to help you learn how to embrace empower the evolution of friendships
1. Friends need to show up
If they miss big important events in your life (unless it’s an absolute emergency or they tell you in advance) then they may just be a friend based on their own personal convenience. Important events may differ, understand what matters to your friend so you know when to show up for them and when they need to show up for you. Take notice if they have a habit of telling you they’re going to be there and then cancel consistently. Also take notice if they run late often – If it gets to the point you have to tell your friend to meet for dinner at 6:30 and the actual reservation isn’t until 7:15, that is a SIGN they continuously don’t respect your time. Check out my other blog that talks about Flaky behavior and how to eliminate it from your life.
Friends bond by sharing core values, passions, interests and beliefs. If you find yourself hanging around your friends feeling out of place or not having a lot in common to talk about or experience together, find attract friends that you can have fun with and connect with on many levels. Having a deeper connection with a friend will lead to understanding their core values, outlook on life experiences, observing how they spend their time and who else they surround themselves with. As friendships evolve so will commonalities and interests, the ones that are meant to be with you throughout your life will either help you cherish and remember the great common bond once shared by seeing them once a in while (like no time has past between you two) or a friend will grow sharing new commonalities and interests.
Burning bridges is not the route to go when you evolve with your friends. Do it respectfully by distancing yourself from the friendship verses having a “falling out”. If they’re toxic it’s time to completely eliminate evolve them out of your life. Friends that understand respect will adjust share and honor mutual boundaries as your both lives change and grow. Talk about how to respect each other’s needs and support. Good supportive friends understand respectful boundaries and don’t create unrealistic expectations for your time or get mad pissed at you for not giving enough, instead they value the time friendship currency you are able to give as they are able to give to you.
4. Letting go
Such a cliche but it’s so true, all good things must come to an end as you continue down your life journey and same goes for friendships. It may hurt or cause you to feel shitty guilty about letting a friendship take the back seat or end, but in the long run it will be worthwhile. New relationships will show up in your life in the exact time that they are meant to. Through it all, remember that your true friends will always for sure be there no matter what life season you are in. They will show up when it counts.
Feeling supported is your guide to know if a friendship is valuable for you to evolve with…
When I started to evaluate and consciously take action on how I was being supported, some of my friendship continued to grow, some moved on completely, and others became acquaintances. Friendships should be one of the easier relationships to maintain and grow.