Connection Is Everything: How To Consciously Make Better Friends
True friendship and connection are not always easy, but ALWAYS worth the effort. I sincerely do not know where I would be without my besties! My close friendships are “effortless” because we took the time to cultivate our friendships. I do not feel like I am ever putting in “work” because the connection with them feeds my soul – ALWAYS!! Even if they are complaining about their partner for the 1087th time, I’m there, nodding my head in empathy. They probably did the same for me last week. It brings me to tears at times to think of the Love that I have for my girls!
It wasn’t always like this.
Especially when I was in my twenties. It took a lot of gross feelings, self-awareness, humility, and empathy – it took me a while to learn empathy. I always just wanted to fix it and be done. Apparently, that is not highly effective when attempting to create connection.
Many times, we may find ourselves getting upset with others because of the expectations that we put on them. I believe the first step to true connection is to truly understand ourselves. Turn off those expectations and turn on your self-reflection. And the deeper we go with that work, the deeper our connections can be. Whenever we find ourselves getting upset with a friend, if we can pause and self-reflect, then we can better communicate why we were upset in the first place. We can turn that upset into a growth moment, and create closeness instead of separation. When someone loves us enough to be truly honest with us, that person is a keeper. If their communication is coming from their heart, we can usually feel the difference, unless we have not accepted ourselves first.
One of my favorite examples is my bossiness. When I was in my twenties and my friends called me bossy, I would get angry and defensive because no one wants to hang around Ms. Bossy, and at that point in my self-acceptance, neither did I. However, when some of my friends elaborated, and said that it’s good that I know what I want – they liked that I was able to bring groups together and delegate, so they didn’t have to worry about the details – I was able to see that it did not have to be a bad thing. Once I could step back and understand my “bossiness” and look at the big picture, I could diffuse that defensiveness and learned to have better communication skills, so I came across more as a leader instead of Ms. Bossy.
Still, my energy can be a bit much for some people, and I have learned that they are just not my people and I am not theirs. This is a blessing because no one has to tiptoe in the relationship. Every once in a while, Ms. Bossy will still show up, but it’s usually with my close friends and family and they just make a joke, do as they are told or tell me to shut up (haha!) There is nothing but Love, because it is no longer a trigger for me – or them.
I Love it when we are vulnerable and allow people to fully see all of us, and they still stick around. They know that we are just being the best version of ourselves and that is true safety and friendship.
To get your connections where you want them to be, follow these 6 steps to create better connections:
Get clear on what you want from a friendship.
Create your boundaries and hold others accountable so that it is safe to step into the relationship.
Teach others how to treat you by setting the example and using clear communication.
Ask, how am I showing up for the friendship?
Follow the Golden Rule and treat others as you would like to be treated.
Friendships should be fairly easy after a while. You still have to put forth effort, but if you are getting upset, ALWAYS turn the thought around and ask yourself why and what YOU need to do to feel better. Putting up walls, shutting down, going into “poor me” are NOT options.
Keep shining and connect, connect, connect!
6 steps to cultivate your relationships
Add important dates to your calendar and reach out or send cards. It matters and they will appreciate it!
Check in from time to time to let them know you are thinking of them.
Never be afraid to ask questions for which you would sincerely like answers. Allow yourself to pause and be open to the response.
Consciously be a friend from your heart. If you can’t come from your heart, don’t bother until you can.
Sacrifice from time to time if you tend to focus on your needs more. If you are a giver, say no from time to time.
Sometimes people are not capable of showing up the way you need. If you have truly tried to cultivate the relationship, but this happens, they are not your person. This feeling sucks, but be honest with yourself. Step back and focus on what you need to do to feel good. Love them enough to release them.
Proven ways to create new friendships
Join www.bumble.com. There is a bumble BFF section. I have had a couple clients who have found good friends here.
Join www.nextdoor.com and look into existing groups or practice the beautiful art of vulnerability and ask if there is anyone who would like to connect. Go on walks, have a social distance coffee, ask if anyone enjoys the same hobbies as you. I have seen great success with this as well.
When you are out, practice by genuinely complimenting someone if you are inspired or even by asking questions to create connection.
Finally – Remember one of Don Miguel Ruiz’ “Four Agreements”: DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY! Have fun with this process and do not take it personally if responses are not your desired outcome. SET INTENTIONS to have fun and create connection. Keep your energy joy-filled and positive, so that you attract the same.
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