For many years I was convinced I wasn’t good at friendships. I genuinely believed that none of my friends really liked me and everyone was just being nice to my face.
This deep-seeded belief was the result of a several friendships blowing up as a teenager, because they were just being nice to my face (girls can be lovely, can’t they?!).
Thanks to these experiences, I expected all my friendships to play out this way for most of my 20s and early 30s.
As my internal fears grew and festered in to huge paranoia, I went in to hiding. I used ‘too busy’ as an excuse not to return phone calls. I’d cancel catch-ups at the last minute or blame another non-exist event for not being able to attend a party I promised I would go to.
Over time I successfully built walls around my heart in order to protect myself from my ‘friends’. If I couldn’t give them a chance to find out they don’t like me, then I didn’t have to discover they bitched about me behind my back.
Of course, in the end, I was the one who pushed my friends away and never really made the connections I yearned for.
Because as they say, ‘where your energy goes, the attention grows.’
Thanks to the work I’ve done internally to shift significant barriers and negative beliefs towards friendships (and forgive those girls from my past), I knew I needed to become the friend I always wanted and find the strength and courage to reconnect to the amazing women around me who I knew were (are!) my soul squad.
Words are not enough, so I had to get out of my own way and intentionally sow the seeds of friendship that I longed for. With that in mind, here are 3 ways to support your girlfriends and cultivate thriving friendships as an adult:
1. Cultivate Heart-Driven Conversations
Yes, we may all be busy but friendships thrive when we can create the mental space to proactively listen and share. For example, when you’re asked ‘How are you?’ be brave enough to tell the other person the truth as this will give them permission to share their truth too. Then use their answer as the starting point for a heart-felt conversation where you genuinely want to connect and support them. If you start a conversation with the intention of wanting to connect with your friend, instead of just talking about you, then that’s what will happen.
2. Avoid Advice
Despite the best intentions, sometimes offering your advice on a situation can be counter-productive. Let’s be frank, unsolicited opinions can cause more harm than good.
Unless your friend specifically asks you for advice, it’s best to ask questions that enables your friend to discover her own answers.
For example, you could ask:
When that happens, how do you feel?
What is your heart telling you to do?
What is keeping you up at night?
If you knew couldn’t fail, what would you ultimately like to do?
How can I support you now?
When you approach a conversation with openness and the intention to connect at a soul-level, your conversation will take on a powerful energy of its own and your friendship goes to a new level.
3. Create Loving Connections (particularly good if you’re not in the same city)
If you loved receiving surprise flowers and notes from your hubby when you first started seeing each other, why not do the same thing now for your girlfriends and show you love them and are thinking about them.
Make a note in your diary to do little things for your friends to remind them why you love them and you’re there for them.
For example you could:
Send a surprise postcard with ‘thinking of you’ written on it.
Leave a message on their phone and give them permission NOT to ring you back.
Send a hand written letter to express what’s happening with you lately. It’s simple. Personal. Memorable.
You don’t have to do this all the time, maybe once or twice a year, because a small gesture such as this goes a long way to growing friendship planted in love, joy and integrity.
Tell me in the comments below, do you struggle to maintain friendships as an adult or is it something you are conscious of and therefore make an effort? How are your friendships different now to when you were a teenager?