Relationship Intelligence: Reality Testing Your Friendships
Ever wonder if you are picking the right friends? Have you ever had that nagging feeling that your nearest and dearest might not be so devoted? Here is a reality test that you can use to learn more about who is and who isn’t truly in your corner.
Do the Dance
Relationships have a choreography to them, a natural rhythm and flow. As we get to know each other, I tell you a little something private about me (ie- I am afraid of heights or I find my mother-in-law to be difficult) and then you tell me a little something private about you. Then what happens? A good test of who to pursue for true friendship would be if the information I entrusted you with stays private, between us. If suddenly our mutual friend Sarah knows this info too, then I would understand that you find it too difficult to keep my private information confidential, or perhaps “private” is not in your vocabulary. In either case, this tells me more about what kind of a friendship I can have with you.
Same or Different With Others
When other people are introduced into the mix (your friend from the soccer team or your college roommate) does our friendship feel the same? When friends from one group are mixed in with a friend or friends from another, it can be a bit uncomfortable, it’s true. But, a good reality test of a friendship is to ask yourself: When other friends are around, are you acting proud to be my friend or are you suddenly less interested in what I have to say or how I think about things? Are you unavailable when this one or that one comes to town or do you make time for us to meet? If having a third person around for some reason dramatically changes the way you and a friend relate, it might be a good idea to get curious about what is going on in your friendship.
Time Will Tell
It has been said that nothing stays the same and this certainly holds true for friendships. In a sense, our relationships are like living organisms. They are not static or fixed, they grow, change, and mature over time. One of the greatest indicators of who is and who isn’t a true friend is the test of time. Good friendships, with a little bit of energy and effort, can withstand the test of time, endure into the years, and deepen as we pass through expected or unexpected life transitions. Marriage, becoming a parent, losing someone near and dear, job changes, even moves to other regions can be a bit easier to adjust to if close friends are emotionally present to weather these with you.
While no friend can be available to you at all times or through every situation, our closest friends make an effort to be present through the most important times or when called upon.
Lumps and Bumps
Sometimes life circumstances cause a bit of emotional distance temporarily between you and a friend. Other times, an impulsive comment, a thoughtless act, or an unkindness cause tension and stress the relationship. Taking the time and energy to address these, even if it means uncomfortable moments and difficult conversations, is a measure of true friendship. Friends do let us down from time to time, but they also work with us to make things right again.
Who Would You Vote Off the Island?
What have your friendships been like? Can we ever truly trust others with our hearts or is it just a matter of time until we all get hurt? Ever called it quits with a close friend? Let us know what has worked and what hasn’t worked for you!