Connecting to others is an important source of our wellbeing. Those connections get us thru the tough times and bring us joy and laughter in the good times. Yet it often is the tough times that show us that we lack friends.
Do you really have friends?
If youвЂ™re not sure ask yourself these questions?
- How many people do I look forward to meeting?
- If I was injured in an accident, who besides family could I turn to?
- If they were injured in an accident who would turn to me?
Studies say that most Americans find these tough questions to ask and even tougher to answer. Yet, those who thrive in this world donвЂ™t have trouble with them. Friendships are one of the very important things to help us thrive.
No matter who you are or where you are you can make friends. I saw this among people who found themselves living in nursing homes and elsewhere.
Years ago as I made rounds each evening, seeing the number of friends around a dyeing manвЂ™s bed convinced me that gay men might have something from which the rest of us would benefit. This man was dying of AIDS in the 1980вЂ™s. In those days we did not have drugs to stop or reverse the AIDS virus. I could only make him comfortable and treat his secondary infections. Yet, every evening when I stopped by his room there was a half dozen men visiting him. I had never seen this with other patients. So many people willing to take the time to be with a friend.
So, what is a good friend? A friend is not just someone you can turn to in crises. Friends will make you laugh and grow. You are free to be yourself with a friend. Yes, you may differ on some issues, but you appreciate them in spite of that.
If you want better friendships you will need to create them. So here are some ways to get started:
- Imagine what youвЂ™re ideal relationships with friends, family, lovers, peers and others would look like. Do they support you? Do they encourage you to grow by supporting and offering new experiences?
- Review the relationships you have with вЂњfriendsвЂќ now:
- Do they meet your ideal?
- Could that relationship be nourished to meet your ideal?
- Would the other person be receptive to deepening your relationship?
- Who else would you like to get to know?
- Now find ways to spend time with these people and enjoy getting to know them better. Friends enjoy doing things together and sharing their dreams and trials. Yes, there might be times when you know it would hurt them to say what is on your mind.
- Look for the positive in these relationships. Partners in marriages that thrive tend to say 5 positive things for each negative one. This is good advice with all those we meet. Too often we are seeking to protect ourselves and not connect with others. How often have you really been attacked? What was troubling those who attacked you? Was it really you, or something they projected on to you?
- Make it a point to connect with some friends regularly. There is not enough time for us to connect with each one of our friends every month, but try to connect in person frequently if only for coffee. Phone calls and emails can help in between times. These contacts will help you to keep up with them.
May you develop stronger and deeper Friendships!
This is the ninth in my blog series on Brendon Bur chardвЂ™s book, ref=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1451667531/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1451667531&linkCode=as2&tag=injoyheaandli-