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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Re-evaluating Friendships

Last year at this time I wrote an entry entitled “Facing Demons”. Not everybody knows or remembers what triggered that entry, and I don’t expect you to, but it was/is pretty clear that I was going through a rough patch and that I was struggling with certain things. But it is one year later and I am happy to say that, although it needed quite a bit of polishing, I was able to find a silver lining from that period of my life and that is why I am writing this follow-up now. I know that some of you do not understand how this has turned out to be positive, but trust me… it really has!

Have you ever had something happen in your life that caused you to re-evaluate your friendships? Something that made you realize that the people you thought were your true friends really weren’t that close after all? Sometimes people change and they turn out to be different than who you thought they were; and sometimes it’s just that you finally see them as they really are. Don’t get me wrong, it can be heartbreaking when you think you can count on someone and the minute you really need them they aren’t there for you… but it can also be a real eye-opener! And you know what? This might sound cliché, but more often than not it is their loss in the end!

Having been programmed from a very young age that the people you love and trust the most will also be the ones to hurt the worst, I have grown to be a pretty good judge of character. I have a decent read on people and I am meticulous about weeding out the “bad” early on. I am also very particular about whom I allow into my inner circle; even more so as I get older I have noticed. To some, it may sound as though my caution has left me with no one in my life but that is far from true. I have a pretty big circle of close, dependable, supportive, loving and caring friends and some of them have been in my life for as long as I can remember. However, I am only human and I have certainly made mistakes over the years as well. Sometimes, often through no fault of my own, I have missed or misinterpreted the warning signs that someone is “bad” or that someone “good” is no longer “good for me” and I have definitely been hurt by this – terribly. Thankfully I have also been fortunate enough to have the experience of someone, who I least expected to have my back, stand tall for me. It just goes to show that we never really know what people are made of; the people we expect to be there for us aren’t, and the ones we least expect (and wouldn't think to ask) open their arms to you. Oddly enough, last year this all happened at once.

So, I have taken this last year to re-evaluate the relationships I have with my friends. Some have certainly gone up a few notches while others have slid down a few, and unfortunately I can no longer consider some to be my friends at all. Honestly, we do not need a huge circle of friends, only a few who are loyal and who will be with us until the end - through good times and bad, through thick and thin – and that can be hard to come by. Quality is certainly more important than quantity when it comes to my friendships.

Below is a questionnaire I happened to find on-line recently which sums up the re-evaluating process extremely well. So well that I wish I would have found it a year ago! Anyhow, feel free to give it a go…

 7 Questions to reevaluate your friendships  

I have found that as I grow and mature, so do my friendships. That means that friends come into my life and move on so that others can find their way into my life. Instead of leaving this to ‘chance’, I decided to create intention around my friendship environment. I sat down and wrote out with much contemplation my response to the following questions: 

  1. What does friendship mean to me now? 
  2. What do I NO longer want to attract in my friendships? 
  3. What do I want to attract in my friendships now? 
  4. What have I not liked or has not been healthy for me in current or prior friendships? 
  5. What have I liked or was healthy for me in current or prior friendships? 
  6. What do I want in my Friendships now? W
  7. What am I willing to be and to give as a friend? 
The resulting clarity I received by taking a few moments out of my busy life to answer these important questions naturally led to me attracting more of what I want, what is healthy for me, and what has me thrive instead of that which sucked me dry (blunt but true). It is okay for you to do the same. You are here to be in joy and to love your life.