Welcome to Day 26 of #write31days!
For more information check out the series’ page.
Every day we meet new people. Every day we connect with long lost people. Some of them are acquaintances, others are supposed to become friends. How do we make good friends and how do we set appropriate boundaries?
I am a people person. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I love seeing them thrive. I am a giver. I like to invest in others through talking, texting, writing, meeting…
Until last year.
I was so exhausted from my life and investing all the time that I just had to stop. For once I needed others to invest in me. This often didn’t happen and many friendships shattered at this T-junction. I tried to keep going, keep investing, keep hoping for others to show up.
I beat myself up, I whined and complained about friends who never called. I sent out emails and texts and then pitied myself when I got nothing in return. It led to nothing but disappointment, self-questioning, and emptiness.
Most of all, I overlooked the people who did come alongside me. Texts I did not appreciate, invites I did not accept, help I did not take – because I was too busy chasing the attention of the wrong people.
Don’t chase the wrong people. Instead of complaining about what (or who) you don’t have, focus on those you do have.
Be bold enough to let those go who don’t respond. Don’t force something that’s not supposed to be. Cut ties that will only lead to emptiness and disappointment.
Open your eyes to the ones who really care about you and not just your presents. Be grateful for them and accept their help.
Rather Few than Many
As much as Facebook tries to tell us that the more ‘friends’ you have the better – few are actually better than many.
You simply can’t invest in everyone. Keeping up with many people takes a lot of time, emotions, and energy. You’ll just get lost in too many stories, questions, and problems and won’t have time to just share life together. Having fifty friends won’t fill your life, but actually leave you empty and exhausted.
Sometimes we have to say NO to friends. They are adults and can’t drop all their problems off to us. Yes, friends help each other out and care. But bearing each other does not mean taking over each other’s lives. Sometimes friendship can also mean telling some hard truths.
The older I get the more I realize the benefit from choosing my friends. I don’t have many, but those I have I really want to make an effort. Really listen, really care, really invest. This takes time and energy. But I know it’s worth it because I know they’ll do the same in return.
What Is a Friend?
I have talked to quite a few people about this topic and we often ended up at the same question: What actually makes a friend? What do we expect from our friends and how can we be better friends?
We meet lots of people every day, but not everyone will become our friend. With some people we connect for a while, but very few are meant to get close to us.
This does not happen just like that. It takes an effort on both sides.
No matter what you expect of others as friends – we have to start being good friends ourselves.
Friends are there for you. Just you, not your work, your contribution, your effort.
Friends are honest; they are willing to go deeper. Not all at once, but step by step. They are bold enough to let you in on their mess and don’t turn their backs when they’ve seen yours.
Friends can take a NO. No matter how much we like each other we also need some time to withdraw and recharge.
Setting boundaries with friends is tough because we’re often afraid to lose them. But what if it helps us to make our own expectations clear and refine the friendships we’re actually supposed to have?
Think about the friends you have. Do you chase the wrong people? Do you appreciate the ones who invest in you? Do you need to make a decision to be a good friend to few?