Did you have ugly models? Reflecting on our notions of grown-up friendships...
Friends truly come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and flavors and few are anything like runway models. As soon as we branched out from the family unit into the playground and local neighborhoods, we suddenly began to see a rainbow of people for the first time. The quest began to find other kids that wanted to be our friend. Turns out, this quest is an eternal one.
Some of those new play friends we met ended up being well-adjusted, thoughtful and friendly to us. While others were just spiteful for some unknown reason. They envied our shoes, lunch, or some such silliness. In retrospect, they were mirroring what they thought a friend did based on some dysfunctional experience they received or witnessed. Meanness is generally a learned behavior.
New and improved models
This carried on until we ran across new and better quality friendship examples. That suddenly gave us a benchmark to compare our other friendships against. Now there was a new and improved model. Those previous friends that didn’t pass the muster were dropped and this new and better model became our new friend. Over time, we gradually weeded out the ones that really weren't friends at all.
We naturally look to our mothers to model good friendship skills. The quality of her friends and how she interacted with them became “the norm” and we followed suit. If she had toxic friends in the mix, then having a few bad apples was just par for the course.
It’s something in our DNA
To compound matters even further, many grown-up women still have an unrealistic expectation that other women should automatically know what a real friend should be—as if it’s something in our DNA. Nothing could be further from the truth. Expectations ruin friendships faster than almost anything.
Solid friendship skills set us up for successful lives. They even help us pick a better mate. Because they’re a learned behavior, it’s never too late to start learning the proper lingo. The western world is literally starved for these meaningful conversations.
Compose who you want to become
Some other good news is we’re influenced in profound ways by the five people we spend the most time with. That means we can compose who we want to become by carefully choosing our close friends. When we surround ourselves with specific people that possess specific traits or qualities that we want to take onboard…voila, we’ve just stacked the odds in our favor for success.
You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. Our friends reflect what kind of person we really are. Darwin believed that, too:
“A man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth”
We can’t change the family we’re born with, but we can hand-pick the friends we bring into our inner circle and give our precious time to. They become the extended family we surround ourself with. Every friend we have will bring something different to our table. If you find you’re a little short on dining company these days, just reach out to me and take me up on my free 30-minute Friendship Clarity Call and we’ll fix that in no time. You don't have to dine alone.
If you've enjoyed these insights, please leave a comment and tell me what your takeaway was. Feel free to share the goodness on social media, too.
Founder & Chief Friend Instigator
#friendship, #besties, #toxicfriends
I'm in my element when I'm exploring thoughts of this challenging topic of female friendships. Sometimes things spill out into the real world and end up here in this blog,
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