PODCAST EPISODE 5: Making Friends
Hello everyone! So excited to be back for another episode! This is one of my favorite times of the year. One, it’s birthday month – and if you heard the last episode you’ll know that I don’t just celebrate my birthDAY but I get a birthday month. It’s awesome. Second, school is starting soon which means there’s crayons, paper, composition notebooks, and all kinds of fun stuff lining the walls of Target and those back to school specials everywhere. Which I know, might sound weird but we’re a homeschooling family so that stuff is kind of exciting around here. And Third, because it’s back to school season I get to talk to majority of my teen clients about friends and making friends.
This topic comes up a lot but it’s more concentrated around this time when that first day is imminently around the corner. They wonder if people are going to like them. Are they going to have someone they know in their class. Will they make new friends. Please, please, please let me have the same lunch period as some of my friends and on and on.
What’s interesting is that while teens worry and think so much about friends, making friends, keeping friends, being a good friend. Adults struggle with this too, although it’s less talked about. For whatever reason it’s totally normal to talk to teens about this but as adults, especially moms…not such an advertised topic and it’s a bummer because they’re struggling too.
The topics I bring to you each week are relevant to both parents and teens which is really great because you can each take these tools and tips and apply them to your own lives and then come together and ask questions and create really meaningful discussions and conversations around where you’re at with these topics. So, take advantage this opportunity to share and connect together.
Okay…friends and making friends. Today, I’ll share what a friend is (hint: it’s not what you think), how to make tons of friends (easier than you think), and why friendship is so important.
Alright, let’s dive in! When my clients come to me with woe’s of friendship I like to ask them this question: What is a friend? Will you think about that for a minute. Just answer that question in your head and we’re going to come back to it.
If you go to Google and type in: What is a friend? It’s going to give you a lot of articles and definitions about the other person doing certain things for them to qualify as a friend. A good friend is someone who will tell you the good and bad suggests on article. A friend is someone who will listen. A friend is someone who likes you back. A friend is someone who will go out of their way for you. A friend is someone who will be by your side when times are tough. There’s even articles about how long is takes to build a friendship. I think this study suggested something like 200 hours or something like that.
In all these cases, the other person must do something to qualify as a friend. How about your definition? In your mind, what do you think makes a friend a friend? Is it some of these same things? While these may sound reasonable and self-explanatory, like, “yeah, duh…that’s what a friend is” I’m going to argue and say no. That’s not what makes a friend at all. While those are qualities you might enjoy and be grateful for that they do. It’s not what makes a friend.
Thankfully your friend doesn’t have to do any of those things to be a friend and neither do you. What a relief! When we think this way it creates a lot of pressure for you to be something other than who you are. How exhausting to go about day after day wondering if you’re checking the boxes off of your “Am I good friend?” checklist.
So if that’s not what a friend is, what is a friend? This is it. It’s beautifully simple: A friend is nothing more than a thought in your head. That’s it. That’s what makes someone your friend. Just a thought in your head about them that says, “They are my friend.”
Have you seen the movie Castaway? It’s a movie with Tom Hanks. Spoiler alerts – so if you haven’t seen it and want to see it, maybe you should fast forward here. He works for Fedex and on one of his work trips his small plane crashes and he’s stranded on this tiny island alone. To pass the time he gets curious and starts opening what’s left of the packages that were on his flight. One of the packages had a volleyball, Wilson brand. Now, if you’ve seen this then you’ll be able to picture what I’m talking about but if not, use your imagination and bear with me. He personifies this volleyball. He makes a face on it. He frays the top of the ball to make it appear to have hair. He named it Wilson and Wilson became his only friend on the island.
He’d talk to it, argue with it, laugh and cry with it. There’s one scene where he gets mad at it and kicks it and it flies out of his cave and seconds later he regrets it and runs after it in the pitch blackness of the night and in the rain to rescue his ball. He cries and apologizes and swears that never again will he do that. He’s so sorry.
Towards the end of the film he makes a daring attempt to leave the island and hope that someone will find him and rescue him. During this ordeal Wilson gets knocked off the raft and starts floating away. Tom Hanks dives in after him and it comes to this point where he has to choose saving his friend or keeping his raft and with that, his own life. It’s a tough decision for him and you can see the pain on his face as he makes this choice. He ultimately has to let his friend float away and it’s this super sad scene. I totally cried the first time I saw it.
Now, let me ask you this, Wilson was just a volleyball. It didn’t talk, it didn’t do anything. It didn’t do any of the things that you’d find in any of those articles on friendship. But, he was a good friend to Tom Hanks. So much so that he was risking his own life and safety to try and save him. What makes a friend a friend?
Just a thought in your mind. They’re your friend if you think they’re your friend. Simple as that.
Yes, I totally know that’s a fictional movie but think about this for a minute. Remember when you were younger and everyone was your friend? You could go to a playground right now and see tons of kids playing together and having fun together. They go there just knowing that everyone is their friend and because they think that, everyone IS their friend.
When my daughter was 5 she was in this girl scout troop with like 20 other girls. It was a huge troop and for months and months we’d ask her what her friend’s names were and she look at us like that’s a totally weird question. She’d just reply, “Oh, they’re just my friends.” Like, at that age, you didn’t even have to have a name in order for you to be a friend. There isn’t a long, arduous process of, “Hi, I’m so in so. What’s your name? Wanna be my friend?” It’s just a thought in their minds as it can be in yours too.
I was really sick this week. I rarely get sick but it was awful. I stayed in bed and could barely move. I totally binged watched Howards End. I really liked that. I also watched Julie and Julia, with Amy Addams. She starts a blog where she’s going to write about cooking through Julia Child’s cookbook, like 500 and some odd recipes in 365 days. During this process she “befriends” Julia. She thinks about her. She says that she feels close to her. She creates this friendship with this woman that she’s never even met.
A friend is just a thought in your mind. Have you ever been “close” to someone that you’ve never even met?
A missionary in our area said that he befriended Nephi. That Nephi was and is a really good friend to him. He helped him make tough decisions and rise above his circumstances. I personally think Oprah is amazing. I love her. She has no idea who I am but she’s my friend because I think she’s my friend. What about a character in a novel? or a movie? or someone that has already passed away? One of my friends told me this past week said that she talks to her ancestors all the time. She’s big into family history work and even though she doesn’t really “know” them, she has beautiful thoughts about them and considers them her friends.
I’m talking about this to such an extent because I want you to really know and understand that a friend is just a thought in your mind.
We know that your feelings come from thoughts in your mind. So when you go into school you and you think, “what if no one likes me?” what feeling is that going to generate? Worry, fear, anxiety, self-consciousness?
Your feelings promote your actions. If you’re feeling worried, anxious, and self-conscious, what are you going to do? What actions come from those feelings? hiding, staying quiet, small, pretending to be busy while looking at your phone?
You actions create the results you have in your life. So if you’re hiding, quiet, and pretending to be busy looking at your phone, what results are you creating?
What if instead you thought something else? What if you thought, “Everyone is my friend. I have so many friends and I can’t wait to make some new ones.” What feelings come from those thoughts?
Happy, excited, hopeful, anticipation, confidence? What do you think you’d do if you felt happy, excited, hopeful, full of anticipation, and confident in your abilities to make friends?
You might look up for one thing. You might smile. You might talk to someone, sit by someone new, start a conversation, right? Now think, what would your results be?
You’re probably going to have a lot more friends, right?
Making friends is easy. It really is. You don’t have to put in 200 plus hours to make a friend. Those people can be your friend before you even exchange words. It starts with a thought in your mind. It really, really is that simple. It’s only complicated if you make it complicated by the thoughts you have about it. Why not clear up that mentally chatter and keep it simplistic and beautiful. They are my friends. That’s it.
Decide ahead of time that they’re your friends. That making friends is easy – because it is. When you think this you’re going to generate positive, motivating feelings, which will create positive actions. So fun.
Okay, so that being said. I want to bring up this point. Just because a friend is simply a thought in your mind you CAN have everyone be your friend. It actually feels really fun to think this. There are some people however that you might not want to spend a lot of your time with if any. I’ve cited this quote before but it’s fitting here too:
Dita Von Teese said, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”
This just talks about our preferences and other’s preferences. There are going to be some personalities that you don’t prefer and the same with others. Your personality isn’t everyone’s flavor either and it’s okay. Truly. It’s okay because it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. It doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with them. It just means that they’re not your peach or that you’re not their peach and it’s okay. Nothing has gone wrong. Nothing is wrong with either of you. It’s just a matter of preferences and it’s okay.
It’s the same way with preferences in flavors. I don’t like anything spicy, like not even remotely spicy. My husband though, loves spicy things. It’s just a matter of preferences. There’s nothing wrong with the jalepeno. I just prefer not to eat it. I can admire that it’s perfect at being a jalepeno. I can appreciate it’s value and that it’s perfect at being a jalepeno but I still don’t want to eat it.
There are going to be others out there that won’t want to hang out with you and it’s okay. Nothing is wrong with you. You’re not their peach. They don’t prefer your favor and it’s okay. You still have the option of considering them your friend in your mind. You can still appreciate them for who they are and have positive thoughts about them.
This is interesting because our minds, out of what it thinks is protection for us will not like someone that doesn’t like us. We think, we’ll they don’t like me so I’m not going to like them. And when we think that what feeling is that going to generate?
This is important to think about because your actions, what you do, stems from your feelings. Your thoughts generate your feelings which create your actions and what you do, which then those actions give you your results. So decide carefully what you want to think about those people.
Thinking of them as a friend may better serve you. You can try on the thought, “They’re my friend. They just don’t know it yet.” Which will FEEL a lot better than, “They don’t like me so I’m not going to like them.” One will produce positivity and the other hostility. So choose wisely. You can like someone even though they don’t like you. You can see them as a friend even when they don’t consider you their friend.
When my daughter was dancing at this one dance school there was a woman there that was really stern and cold. She rarely smiled. She was short with the dancers and she did not like us. She’d glare at us when we’d come in. If we were ever late…whoa to us. We tried smiling at her at first but after receiving negative remarks we tried a different approach. We tried hiding from her. My daughter would run as fast as she could passed her. It wasn’t fun. Then we decided to try something else. We decided that we’d make it a goal to try and elicit a smile from her. Whenever we’d go to the bakery around the corner we’d pick one up for her too. We’d come in and smile and warmly say, hello. It took some time but little by little her thoughts about us changed. She smiled more often at us. She hugged my daughter when we’d bring her treats. It wasn’t because of US. It was because of her thoughts about us that made the change. But when we changed our thoughts about her, it changed how we felt, which changed what we did, which created an entirely new result. It was beautiful.
I’m not telling you to do this. I’m only offering you a new way of thinking about those that may not like you yet. It can simply be that. They don’t like me yet but I’m going to like them anyway. They don’t have to like me, I still like them. Give the permission not to like you – they’re going to do it anyway, we can’t control them but when you give them permission in your mind it’s no longer arguing that things should be any different than they are and that feels so much better than thinking things should be different.
Okay, here’s the last thing I want to bring up to you today. I want you to ask yourself WHY you want them to be your friend or why you want them to like you. I know it sounds like a weird question but it’s really important to think about. Why do you want new or more friends? Answer that in your mind. Pause this for a second if you need to so you can really answer it.
We want things because of how we think it’ll make us feel. So when wanting friends why do you want friends? Is it because if you had them you’d feel…what? Popular? accepted? included? Confident?
If you don’t have a lot of friends what are you making that mean about you? That you’re not lovable? accepted?
Remember, we feel things because of the thoughts we have in our minds. Since this is the case, why not create the feelings you want now? ahead of time? You’re the only one that can create those feelings for you – it’s not the amount of people around you that create that. It’s the thoughts you have that create it.
So if you’re surrounded by a lot of people you can think, “A lot of people want to be around me. I must be cool.” So then you feel cool. Too often we try and delegate this job to others. We want others to fawn over us so that we can feel good. But they can’t make you feel good. Even showering you with compliments won’t make you feel good. The only thing that makes you feel good is the thoughts YOU create in your mind. When they give you compliments it’s because you’re agreeing with their thoughts. “Yeah, I’m am amazing!” Which then creates the feeling of excitement, confidence, whatever amazing feels like to you.
But it’s never because of the people and what they say or do. It’s because of your own thoughts. Why not create the thought now, ahead of time?
Practice doing this. Practice thinking and believing thoughts that generate the feelings you want to feel ahead of time. I promise when you do this you’ll be able to create the result you want much more easily than looking to others and hoping they’ll say what you want to hear so that then you can believe that thought.
Okay, lastly…While anyone can be your friend by your thoughts about them and there’s nothing wrong with you right now, this doesn’t mean that we don’t want to continue to grow, to evolve, to become more of who we want to become. So what kind of friend do YOU want to be?
How do you want to show up? We can’t control others, we can only control ourselves. So ask yourself: What kind of friend do I want to be?
How can I show up as a good friend? Do you want to improve your listening skills? What about how you spend your time with them? What about keeping commitments to them? Maybe you want to practice smiling more and contributing positive words to your conversations?
Okay, let’s recap:
1.) What makes a friend a friend? Simply a thought you have about it. They are my friend. That’s it.
2.) Thoughts create our feelings – figure out what you want to feel and then create thoughts that will generate those feelings for you. If I want to feel likable – then I need to think thoughts like, “There are so many people who like me. I can’t wait to meet them.” or “I’m pretty amazing. I have so many qualities that I like about me and if I like them about me, there are for sure others that are going to like them too.”
3.) You are perfect at being you just as others are perfect at being them. There is nothing wrong with you and there is nothing wrong with others. Give others permission not to like you. It’s okay. It’s a matter of preferences, that’s it.
4.) Decide what kind of person YOU want to be. What kind of friend are you?
Whether your a teen and you’re heading to school for a new year or you’re a parent and you’re wanting more friends. You can do this. It’s easier than you’ve been making it out to be. Clear away the drama and the chatter in your mind and start making friends. You can totally do this.
One last thing, I would so appreciate it if you could leave me a review on iTunes or Castbox. There’s a ton of new podcasts born everyday and it’s easy to get lost without reviews so if you have a few extra moments I’d so love reading what you have to say! Thank you!
See you next week!