Safeguarding Your Friendships Shapes Your Life

By Frosty Wooldridge

It’s been said that a “best friend” constitutes a miracle of the universe.

(Sharing a campfire creates magical times for friends. It adds harmony, nature and fellowship with the bonding of the flames.)

During your lifetime, you attach to certain individuals who “mesh” with you mentally, spiritually and physically.  At first, you share the weather, sports and latest boyfriend or girlfriend. You may address the latest event on the local scene.  As time passes, you become attached because you share deeper feelings, concerns, triumphs and fellowship.

Your friendships may revolve around a beer, wine or dancing.  You might go for a walk, a bicycle ride or the movies.  You might backpack, ski or raft a river.  You could share moments of danger, serenity or wonder at a sunset.  During those times, you develop feelings through laughter, stories and shared opinions on an array of topics.

Friendships develop for a short duration, a long time or a lifetime.  Each friendship provides you with life energy, inspiration, fellowship or companionship.  You might enjoy wise advice.  You may enjoy laughter.

Your friends pull you through good times, bad times, heartache and heartbreak.  Most individuals don’t think about their friendships—until they face loss of one.

At some point, you may lose a short term friendship because you didn’t nourish it.  Friendships need watering or emotional deposits into the “heart bank.”  This inquiry revolves around examining the character of your various connections.   You may value solid relationships so you periodically watch the dance within your friendships to make sure you maintain your part of creating a solid, equitable bond.  This requires being able to step back to witness your behavior within that friendship. For example, you might ask:

Are you monopolizing the dialogue and thus not aware of the tone of the energy field between you and your friend, thus not actually present to the message of your friend?   You may have done this with the result of a drain in the energy and feeling between your friend and you, yielding disconnection.

Are you not speaking your opinion or feelings in order to keep the peace and avoid their anger or sadness?  Are you gauging your sharing and truth-telling only on what you think safest to share?  Do your actions exhibit your authentically showing up in the friendship?

At times, we choose the ‘low road’ simply due to lacking skill-sets for how to negotiate conversations that will ruffle another.  Anyone who does not “stand in our own moccasins” will certainly bring opinions and feelings that clash with ours at some point.  When we do not understand another’s position, the more authentic and honorable offering may be to just say we do not know how to handle the disparity but are committed to exploring so we can understand.

This adage reflects the friendship idea: each individual within the dynamic must make regular deposits to keep the connection thriving: e.g., deposits of goodwill, compliments, phone calls to make a time to see each other, especially when the other seems to be over-withdrawing our account.

In this time of cell phones, emails and other electronic “coldness”, you must decide on face-to-face time in order to fulfill a deep friendship that lasts longer than a “tweet” or “stumble.”

Direct communication creates wholesome connection.  Who does not know that connections lose playful energy when issues lodge under the rug and the other person feels ignored?  The emotional account becomes strained.  Do you want real connection?  You betcha!

If so, become more aware of your friend’s feelings and need to be heard.  The result will be the safeguarding of precious friendships.

3 comments on “Safeguarding Your Friendships Shapes Your Life
  1. Frosty: Well said. Summed up nicely. If only we would hear such words more often. While reading your article I couldn’t help but hum Dionne Warwick’s song…”That’s What Friends Are For.” So I leave you all with a verse…
    “Keep smiling, keep shining, Knowing you can always count on me, for sure, That’s what friends are for, For good times and bad times I’ll be on your side forever more
    That’s what friends are for.”
    Your fellow contributing writer…JSC.

  2. Wow. This is such a needed book in today”s society. My daughter got caught up in a toxic, manipulative friendship. After she could see and admit the friendship needed to end, it took a year for her to fully break away. Beth Moore”s “Breaking Free study was a great help, especially Week 11 (I believe) which addresses toxic female friendships and how prevalent they are. I never realized it until we went through it. I also never realized the damage such a friendship can cause. Thanks for sharing this book, Carrie!

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