We were out to dinner with good friends last week, enjoying happy hour with sake and sushi. My friend relayed to the waitress what she wanted for dinner, and ended her order with, “I would like extra ginger please.” I looked up at her and smiled. You know why? Because my good friend ordered that for me — she knows that I always enjoy extra ginger with my sushi. I happen to think that makes her an awesome friend and definitely a keeper. That small action inspired this week’s blog; I realized that there are certain habits that feed your friendships.
Go out of your way to make your friends feel special. I know this is difficult when you’re juggling so many responsibilities in your life. You probably often feel like you can’t fit any more on your plate, emotionally or logistically! However, as crazy as it seems, that one moment when she ordered the ginger for me made me feel special. It meant that she pays attention to what makes me happy and she was thinking of me. Trust me, she has plenty to keep her busy right now in her own life. But somehow, in that moment, she was able to completely focus on our friendship.
Mean it when you say that you forgive and forget. There are women that verbalize that they forgive but don’t let truly go in their heart. They hold on to things in their close relationships and it eventually negatively impacts the relationship. It simmers beneath the surface and when the friendship hits rocky waters, the incident from many years ago comes spewing out of their mouth. Are you guilty of this? Please try to remember that forgiving someone truly means forgiving and moving on. Acknowledge your hurt or anger, work through the emotions and move on.
Listen to your friend and validate their feelings. When your friend is sharing a problem with you, you most likely want them to feel better. This could lead to you trying to “fix” the problem for them. However, usually what they want and need is for you to listen and validate that you understand what they are going through. With our busy lives, it’s sometimes hard to truly listen to someone. To be an active listener requires you to focus all of your attention and energy on that one task; however, it is well worth it. A point to remember during this process is to leave judgment out of the equation. True friends don’t judge; they let their friends know that they support them. Your friend might just need to share the problem in order to come to her own conclusions.
Be there for your friend in the good times and the bad. Let’s be honest here. Sometimes, it’s easier for us to be there for our friends when they’re down than it is when everything is going stellar for them. You know why? It’s a little thing called jealousy. It grabs a hold of you and it’s hard to shake. At times it’s downright embarrassing to us but at some point, it happens to everyone. Here’s a tip: acknowledge your feelings and work through them. It is normal to feel envy when your life is having a downturn and your friend’s life is soaring. Accept your feelings and move on. Eventually, the tables will be turned and you will appreciate the support.
I believe we all can agree that our friendships are very, very important to us. I encourage you to take an honest look at YOU and your friendships and make the changes needed to be an exceptional friend.