3 Tips on How to Make Girl Friendships Last
Lately I've been thinking about friendships, girl friendships in particular. Growing up my mom used to tell me that not all friendships last forever, I didn't believe her. I could not imagine the rest of my life without my girl crew from primary school, they were everything to me! Fast forward +20 years later and my moms words have come to fruition. In recent months I have witnessed what seems like the end of friendships I thought were full-proof, my own and those of other friends. Extreme emotions (maybe caused by hormones), jealousy, competition, misunderstanding, judgement, self-righteousness, money and dishonesty seem to be common themes across these failed friendships. So, what could have saved these friendships, or what makes other friendships last for a lifetime? Three things come to mind:
1. Choosing Friends Well
That is first and foremost. Unlike family, you can definitely choose the friends you have in your life or the ones you keep close. Sometimes you can "accidentally" find yourself being friends with people through mutual friends or uncontrollable circumstances like sharing an apartment. But, that doesn't always have to be the case. No matter how often you interact with a person, it doesn't necessarily make them your friend. Also be clear on what a friend is to you so you can manage your own expectations of your relations with others. For me, a friend is someone who:
- Accepts me as a complete person with flaws and all and allows me to be me
- I can be honest with about my deepest, darkest secrets and thoughts and will not judge me or spread the word
- Is honest with me, even regarding the most difficult topics
- Handles conflict or disagreement with maturity
- Has my best interest at heart
- I share common interests with
In essence, I choose friends first based on character, which takes time to reveal itself. I think caution in choosing a friend is just as important in choosing a husband or wife - they are also your life partner. And in the same token, I need to be a friend of good character to them.
2. Clear and Considerate Communication
Well, this is probably the biggest cause of most of the issues in the world haha! We take communication for granted, even in friendships, and especially where there are disagreements or some sort of fall out. It's even worse with women because our hormones can heighten our feelings and we find ourselves saying things we regret or saying things in a very hurtful way.
I have a friend who is the clearest communicator I know. I have never been confused or upset about anything she has said, even if it's a sensitive issue because she always find a way to express herself in a very objective manner. I can tell she think about my side of the story before discussing a touchy subject with me, and she considers how to approach me. That makes me feel like she cares about me and protecting our friendship. I have learnt a lot from her about thinking something through, especially the other person's view and feelings before I open my mouth, and choosing my words and tone carefully so my message is crystal clear and easy to decipher.
3. Don't Be Jealous, Be Supportive
I never used to believe that girl 'friends' could be jealous of each other until another friend of mine had a fall out with another friend of hers over her wonderful lifestyle. Her friend tried to keep up with her, but could not afford it financially, so she wrongfully accused her of doing unlawful things to sustain her lifestyle. Instead of admiring our friends ability to figure out a way to achieve some of her lifestyle goals, she tried to discredit her to other friends and to her family.
A true friend should be supportive of your dreams and genuinely help you to reach them. It doesn't have to be financial assistance, but some relevant advice and information, and cheering on, can go a long way.
Looking back at some of the friendships I've lost, I realise that most of the fall-outs were a result of having chosen the wrong friends to begin with, and poor communication on one or both sides. I hope I've learnt enough lessons through the years to sustain and protect the valuable friendships that I have.
Do you have any tips to share about how to make friendships last?
xo - Nhlaks