This year I learned a lot about friendship.
I’ve been refreshingly open with longtime friends.
Deepened relationships with newer friends.
But also, learned that some that I considered to be a friend were only in my life conditionally.
I’ve also observed the friendships of those around me and gained insight on connections that last a while and those that quickly slip through our grasps.
I am no expert, but I have quite a few friends that have been in my life for 15+ years and through my observations I think some of the things that make friendship work—especially today—are mutual respect, consideration, and connection.
respect | a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
In friendship, mutual respect is what allows you to be happy for your friends rather than jealous. Friendship should never feel like a competition. Without mutual respect you will find your friend trying to “one-up” you or simply not genuinely being happy for your growth, and that can be very hurtful. Especially when you are sincerely supportive of them. When respect is an important aspect of a friendship you can navigate through life’s journey alongside of each other without friction. Tension comes into play when every time you reach a high point, instead of going high with you, your friend takes the low road and tries to knock you down.
consideration | careful thought, typically over a period of time.
There is nothing worse than being the hitter-upper and never being hit up. This will almost always lead to one person feeling completely neglected. This isn’t to say that you have to talk to your friends every day or every week for that matter. I have some friends I talk to almost daily and some that I talk to monthly. The important thing is that you know the person considers you—your feelings, what’s going on in your life, etc. It feels so great to have a random just-checking-on-you text from a longtime friend for no reason in particular. We all want to know that there is someone out there thinking of us.
connection | a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.
Maybe most importantly, is the need for continued connection. For one, you need to communicate whether in-person, text, or video chat. Whatever works best for your friendship! But also, on a deeper level it’s necessary to open up and really be honest with those who you call your friends. Only talking about surface-level topics keeps our friends at a comfortable distance but when we are brave enough to truly be vulnerable and divulge parts of us that we would rather hide away, we forge more meaningful connections with those in our lives.
This holiday season, take the time to evaluate your friendships. Maybe some are better left in 2018. But for those that are worth it, hold on tight, because friendship matters.