Having friends that you love and trust, is an amazing gift.
This is especially true when you’re weathering a storm like COVID-19. Research shows feeling connected is a fast and effective way to boost your level of wellbeing.
I have friends who I can’t imagine ever being without. But it’s important to recognize there’s never any guarantee when it comes to relationships. They can change, or end, at any time. After all, we’re all human. That means we come with flaws and are capable of letting our triggers get the better of us.
In an attempt to help you navigate challenges that may arise with your besties, I’d like to share some common myths about friendships for you to consider. If you believe them, they have the ability to hinder your precious friendship bonds.
1. Nothing will come between you and your close friends.
Just like in a marriage, when things are going well with your pals, it may be impossible to imagine life any other way. But humans are rarely frozen in time. Change is inevitable. Sometimes it can cause your connections to feel like they’ve been muted.
Friendships last for a season, a reason, or a lifetime. This is a well-known statement that holds a lot of truth.
A season is a period of time like your university or college days. When you move on to the next season, you may drift away from friends who once seemed irreplaceable.
People who enter your life for a reason may suddenly appear, impact your world and then vanish just as mysteriously. Often, their presence has a gift of some sort if you’re willing to look for it. Perhaps they help you see something in yourself you hadn’t previously been aware of.
Finally, there are those special people who you’ll be close to for a lifetime. Unfortunately, you can never know with 100% certainly which category each friend will fall into. Seasons can be long and reasons can take a while to reveal themselves.
2. Friends should know what you need and how you think.
People are not mind readers. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve known someone for, this fact remains true.
There are times when even I’m not sure what’s going on in my head. It would be unrealistic to expect someone else to understand something about me that I’m struggling with.
Regardless of how close your friendship is, it’s important to communicate clearly. Be open minded and curious about the words and behaviours you witness, rather than letting your emotions take over. Be willing to give your relationships the benefit of the doubt.
If you aren’t sure what another person needs or means, ask them.
3. Friends should be eternally loyal.
Because relationships ebb and flow, how you interact with your friends is bound to change. If it comes to making a choice between one friend or another, or even between them and you, trust yourself to know what to do.
You don’t want to deliberately hurt anyone, but your first priority is to yourself. That doesn’t make you selfish or bad. Each of us is responsible for our own lives. Let your loyalty be guided by your intuition.
It’s equally important to honour your friends for listening to their inner guidance system. They may make decisions that you don’t agree with. That doesn’t make them disloyal.
4. The end of a friendship isn’t as bad as the end of a romantic relationship.
Although not the same, a friendship breakup can be every bit as difficult and painful as the ending of a romantic entanglement. Treat it the same way. Make sure you take time to grieve.
5. Once a friendship ends, it can’t be revived
If the connection is only there for a reason or a season, that may be true. But many life-long friendships come back stronger than ever after a break. This is possible even if the temporary ending involves strong negative emotions.
Quite a few years ago, one of my very best friends and I went through a period of disillusionment with our relationship. After a few months of trying to make things better, I was ready to give up. But this particular friend had different ideas. I’m blessed that she wasn’t willing to throw in the towel as easily as I was.
The experience changed our relationship, but it didn’t lessen the strength of our connection. Different doesn’t mean worse. It can be like a broken bone that heals even stronger than it was initially.
Your connections are a vital part of living a good life. As a result, it’s important to give them enough of your time and attention to help them thrive. Being aware of these friendship myths can help you accept and understand the people who make your life a happier one.
You may not stay connected to all your friends forever, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy having them in your life for however long they’re there.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.