Take The Risk!

Opening myself up to others is probably one of the riskiest things that I have done. It is also one of the most beneficial. You see, my mother still harbors hurt feelings from her childhood. As I was growing up I constantly heard, “Don’t trust anybody”. When something exciting would happen that I would naturally want to share with my friends she would say, “Keep it to yourself”, or “Don’t tell (insert name here)”. So I was conditioned not to share things with others. Naturally, that made it hard to make real friends. As a matter of fact, my idea of what makes a “true friend” was painfully off base.

As an adult I have come to understand where my mother was coming from. Maybe it’s just from growing up, maybe from a lot of prayer, or it could be all those psychology classes from nursing school. Likely it’s a combination of all three. She held on to her past hurts and she desperately wanted to keep me from the same feelings. But she couldn’t because that’s a part of life and experiencing the good and the bad is how we grow.

It has taken a lot of work on my part, but I have learned that being open to new relationships can bring about a multitude of positive benefits. First, it has allowed me to expand my social circle, meet new people, and gain new perspectives. Close relationships can provide a source of support and encouragement, which can and has been especially beneficial during difficult times. I’ve grown in my communication skills, empathy, and emotional intelligence. Ultimately, embracing new relationships has helped me to feel happier, more fulfilled, and like I have that extra layer of support that we all need some times.

people silhouette during sunset
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Three things I’ve learned (as an adult) about being a good friend

  1. When your friend comes to you with their concerns and needs, it is important to give them your full attention and listen to them actively. This means avoiding distractions such as your phone, TV, or any other activity that could hinder your ability to give your friend your undivided attention. Validate their feelings by truly listening and ask open-ended questions that help them elaborate on their thoughts and emotions. Resist the urge to interrupt. Instead, try to understand their perspective. Active listening not only shows your friend that you care, but also helps you build a deeper and more meaningful relationship.
  2. Appreciate your friend’s differences. Understand that every individual is unique, with different personalities, beliefs, and perspectives. Be open to different opinions and lifestyles. Avoid making judgments or assumptions based on stereotypes or biases. Instead, try to learn more about your friend’s experiences and background, which will help you understand them better. By valuing and accepting how your friend is different, you can strengthen your relationship and create a safe and supportive environment where you both can grow together.
  3. Dependability and supportiveness are necessary qualities to have. Being dependable means being reliable and trustworthy, which are qualities that help build strong relationships. It’s important to be there for your friend when they need you, whether it be for a listening ear or a helping hand. This means showing up when you say you will and following through on your promises. Additionally, being supportive means offering encouragement and empathy in times of need. When your friend is going through a tough time, it’s important to be there to provide emotional support and to let them know that you are in their corner. These two qualities go hand in hand and are essential for being a good friend.

In conclusion, being a good friend is crucial for any healthy and happy relationship. By actively listening, being supportive, and staying in touch, we can foster friendships that last a lifetime. While it takes effort and time, the payoff is immeasurable. Remember, a good friend is someone who is always there, even in the toughest of times. So, let us strive to be the friend we would want to have, and cherish the ones we already have in our lives.

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