Friends are our chosen family. They are people who you meet in your life and choose to keep them in happiness and health and well, even death doesn’t part away friends. But to find those precious anchoring friendships, life takes you through a series of situations and a plethora of people that help you filter out and find the best ones to keep. And in this process, we discover the unspoken rules of friendship and learn lessons that stand the most crucial in our life.
What are the lessons you have learned from your friends or because of a friendship? If you were to advise a child about friendship, what would it be?
Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you
I have learned this the hard way. If you are friends with a captious, selfish person, who always tries to drag you down, are they really your friend? Friendship is something that goes far beyond the boundaries of blood relationships. A friend is someone who always pushes you to do your best and stands by you in your worst and your best. There can be some friends who are ostentatious. Sometimes they are jealous of your progress and might try to demotivate you under the garb of advice. STAY AWAY from such people. There should be no room for toxicity in a friendship. The moment they give off allusions and signs that they are just not happy for you, walk away and close all the doors. I had a toxic friendship wherein my friend always made fun of my insecurities. Initially, I took those remarks as jokes but eventually, I realized that it affected my confidence adversely.
Never let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do, let alone your friend. Find quality friends. You could be in a room full of friends and yet manage to feel dull, but if you are beside those two friends that actually adore you, listen to you & appreciate you for who you are, you might feel more than content in that moment. Nothing more could ever possibly make you happier.
Stay away from friends who get jealous of your achievements and capabilities
Well, your friend circle can either make or break you! The kind of company you keep around you can really shape you in many ways – your thoughts, personality, and even how successful you become in life. So yes, choose your friends wisely. But, you must be wondering how one does that, right? We have to meet several kinds of people, have experiences, spend time with them; only then can we decide who to keep and who to let go. But, there are definitely certain things that determine whether a friend is good for you or not. From my experience, I have made so many friends over the years, and each one has taught me something very unique.
However, if I am asked to share life lessons learned from friendship, one of the most important things I have learned is that friends are never jealous of each other’s achievements. They never put you down with nasty comments; a good friend will never go behind your back or tell your personal business to everyone. If someone is talking badly about someone with you, then they’re probably doing the same thing to you too. Now, a little bit of gossip is fine, but conversations shouldn’t be just about gossip. People who don’t have boundaries can never respect someone else’s boundaries; another point to remember is that boundaries are subjective. So, it’s imperative to be self-aware, know your standards and understand what works for you. Also, if something feels off about a person from the first meeting, always listen to your gut feeling and stay away from such people.
On another note, be open to meeting all kinds of people, you’ll always learn something new, and have something to cherish. Friends add the much-needed spice to mundane everyday life. I would like to end my TED talk by saying that the trick lies in knowing who to keep, who to let go, and sometimes it’s good to allow some people back into our lives. So, enjoy this wonderful life with all kinds of friends and keep them close to you, because, with good friends by your side, this life is worthwhile.
Call off a friendship if it is toxic
It is the day we celebrate friendships, but you should understand that you need to leave friends who feed on your energy and happy times. If you feel that you are being taken for granted, even that is a sign to call off a friendship which is not good for your mental peace. Initially, you might feel the urge to befriend them again, but you should control your feelings. At times, when we are not in the right headspace, there are chances of confiding in people you feel are genuine. However, sometimes, even those people might not be the right ones to hold onto for a longer period.
Friendships are bonds that nurture us and give us happiness. These friends might not be jealous but can be emotionally consuming without investing the same amount of love and care in you. I have been through such phases, and I know how bad it can affect one’s mental peace. Therefore, I request you to identify such bonds and take the step to not continue to coexist with them. Instead, utilize that time by investing in yourself and loving yourself. Do what you love and enjoy your company until you find the right ones to hang out with. So, I wish you all a very Happy Friendship Day with yourself and your genuine friends who have stood by you no matter what comes.
Listen and communicate well with your friends
Friends; the most beautiful relationship in the world. It’s a whole lot of struggle to find that one long-lasting friendship. Finding your soulmate to whom you can rant 24/7, mess around and live the most amazing moments of your life and have your open-hearted pep talks without any fear of judgment, is hard. However, one thing which matters the most during all this is communication. Lack of communication is the breeding ground for fights amongst friends. Effective communication is a must to maintaining a healthy, solid foundation for friendship. To communicate well with your pals, you need to listen properly, build trust and deal with all the issues that may cause tension between you. If they don’t express it to you, it’s gonna be someone else, which is even worse. So, encourage your friends to share their needs and feelings with you, as well as express your willingness to support them in a safe and welcoming interaction. After all, who wants to lose a long friendship over a petty communication issue?
I’ve seen bullies who expect you to be a part of a dramatic scene and negatively influence you, where you become one of them instead of helping the victim. Even if friends in your circle like to fool around with someone’s situation and feelings, don’t support it and let that impact and mould you in a harmful manner. I am stating this because everyone is going through a rough phase, and it can be anything. We don’t have the power to predict what a person might be going through, and being kind doesn’t take away anything from you. It is a selfless sacrifice that literally any one of us can do. The most beautiful fact about being kind is all about how easy it really is! So go help a stranger in need, spend time with your friends by becoming their therapists, go to an orphanage with some cupcakes, or simply find opportunities to give silly compliments to random strangers. Kindness will foster positivity within you and emit good vibes, as well as those ‘feel-good hormones’.
It might get awkward, but don’t be shy of calling out your friend when they are wrong
Being the laid-back friend in the group comes with its price, I’d say. When you’re chill and someone who doesn’t care about the drama around you, people tend to think that you are an impenetrable wall who wouldn’t mind whatever they say. And I learned the hard way that as much as you suck at confronting and being assertive, it is important to step your foot down and draw lines when needed.
You see, things might get a little awkward or heated, but they are your friends, and you owe them complete honesty. They can’t read your mind so let them know if you didn’t find their joke funny or didn’t like what they did. You could casually mention it or take them aside and talk. They are your friends, and they deserve to be shown things from your perspective and trust me, there is no point in keeping peace at the expense of your mental well-being.
Remember, your friends are the light of your life. And when you accept and abide by the codes of friendship, you will find yourself with a pack of people who become not only your anchor in the storm but also hold your hand and walk you through it.