I am particularly concerned with friendships. Why is it so hard to maintain a healthy friendship?
Did you know that there are health benefits to having friends who you can confide in and rely upon for support? It is scientifically proven that people who have multiple solid relationships are likely to have better immune systems, live longer lives, and are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
Imagine all of your close friends- the people whom you really rely upon, the ones you can tell your deepest, darkest secrets and fear no judgment, how have you nourished your relationships with them? If you were to look at those friendships as flowers, would they be struggling to stay alive or are they blooming?
If you think about it, we are willing to put the effort into maintaining marriages and sexual relationships because we deal with them daily. Your partner or lover usually lives with you; you see them constantly. These relationships are "in your face." If there is a serious problem, you have to deal with it immediately or risk sleeping on the couch or in the "dog house". Marriages require daily effort in order to avoid divorce or separation.
Why do we not look at friendships like a marriage? Friendships should require just as much effort as a marriage; friendships are crucial to our health and happiness and produce joy just as a marriage does.
We need to lighten up. A great friend will not hurt you intentionally; accidents happen. Try not to take it too personally if something "comes up." Put the shoe on the other foot, how many times have you accidentally shown up late for plans or forgotten a date? Chances are that your friend may be overwhelmed with stress and expectations outside of your relationship and feeding them a guilt sandwich may just push them away.
Respect given is respect earned. We will probably not always see eye to eye. Respect eachother's point of view and opinion; that's why you chose them in the first place! A good friend will offer their opinion without making you feel inferior or immoral and you will do the same.
Listen to eachother and voice your admiration. Invest the time necessary to be their biggest fan and value why this person is a part of your life. Remember that you chose this person as a friend and there must be valid reason why. Your friend will look to you to cheer their accomplishments so grab your pom poms!
As I reflect upon my own life I see that I have a few lovely people in my life. These people have been hand picked due to their fabulousness... they are fantastic and full of sparkle! I will never forget to be grateful that they have stood by me through thick and thin; they are my soulmates.
Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.