Episode 113: Friendships Part 2

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Welcome back to the podcast my friends, I hope you had an excellent week and hopefully you were able to catch last week’s episode and went out and made some new friendships. Today we’re just going to dive right in and talk about maintenance. 

Besides making friends we tend to struggle in the maintenance department. Once you’ve made it passed that awkward, “are we really friends” stage now you’re in the “do I want to stay friends” phase and this is an interesting phase because most of the time we started as acquaintances or colleagues right? So you’re in the same boat, the same season,  the same church or work environment so you have something in common but it’s in this stage where it can stir up quite a bit of thought drama for a lot of us.

This is easily one of the hardest things for us to do because this area brings up a lot of drama for us. At this point we’re “out of the honeymoon phase” and we move into more of the expectation phase. And you know what I mean by this. It’s like:

They should know you by now. They should know that you don’t like that or what you like. They should show up a certain way. They should or shouldn’t say certain things. They should want to talk to you more, text you more, call you more, invite you more. They should give you space and not ask so much of you, want so much of you, need you. 

This the “they should” phase and it’s easily where most of our friendships fizzle up and it’s such a bummer because most of them don’t have to. It’s less about them and more about you learning about you that can save so many of your friendships.

In this phase our manual is front and center and it’s creating mental chatter that’s hindering your ability to grow in your friendship.

And I call this the manual. The manual is just a term for what we think others should or shouldn’t do around us. It’s basically our operating manual for how we want to be treated. Hence all the “shoulds”. And listen, it definitely goes both ways – you have “rules” for them and you have you “rules” for yourself as well:

I should or shouldn’t say, show up, or do things a certain way OR and this is the biggest roadblock OR I might make it mean something negative about me.

So first step in maintaining good friendships is to keep this question at the forefront of your mind:

What am I making that mean?

The more you get comfortable asking that question and having it at the forefront of your mind the better. Our entire world is made up of stories we’re telling ourselves and so many of these stories hurt rather than heal or connect us to one another.

So, what am I making it mean?

When they don’t text or call – what am I making it mean?

When they call or text too much – what am I making it mean?

When they say things that I wouldn’t have – what am I making it mean? 

When they don’t say what I think they should – what am I making it mean?

When they want to talk about things I don’t – what am I making it mean?

When I find out that other friends got together without me – what am I making it mean?

We feel insecure and not confident in many of our relationships because of what WE make their actions or inactions mean about us. And It’s not them – it your thoughts about them that creates the insecurities and that’s good to know because you control that.

I remember years ago before I found coaching and so much would have changed had I had these tools then but then I wouldn’t have this example to share with you, right? 

My kids were little and I was neck deep in homeschooling them and I found out that one of my good friends went to this small school that was closing down and they were selling off everything, like cool school materials, tons of books, curriculum, PE equipment, desks, and I mean just everything. Things that at that season in my life I would have thought was really fun and I was sad that she didn’t tell me about it or invite me and then to make matters worse I learned days later that several of my friends went and how much fun they had together and where they went out to lunch afterwards and all that. And I was crushed, like totally left out. 

I was so hurt and confused at first like, “why didn’t they invite me? Why didn’t they think of me? Why didn’t they want me to know about it? What did I do? Did I offend them? Do they not like me?” All the things right?

And anytime you ask your brain questions just know this – it’s going to answer them so you want to be mindful of the caliber of questions you ask yourself because I did not like the answers my brain gave me. It didn’t feel good.

It was things like, “yeah, maybe they don’t like you

Maybe they didn’t want to hang out with you

Maybe they don’t think you’re fun” followed by even more dramatic and mean thoughts. 

Not fun and all that lead to MORE chatter, more drama – because then my brain backed it up with evidence

She does seem like she doesn’t really like you – remember the time when…

She doesn’t want to hang out with you – remember how she…

So now we invite even more overthinking, worry, fear, more insecurities, offended, and hurt to the mix. 

And all this from a circumstance. A neutral circumstance. The truth was, she and other people went to a school closing sale. That’s it. The rest, the drama, the pain, the hurt, the story all came from one thing:

What I was making the circumstance mean – and it wasn’t pretty.

And if we’re talking about maintenance and keeping our friendships you have to be mindful that it’s not them that makes you feel the way you feel ,it’s always you and the story you’re telling yourself and hey, WHY would you want to do that to yourself – hurt yourself?

When we don’t ask ourselves that question the thoughts we think come across as fact and we believe them. We don’t see it as OUR story – OUR perception – we just hear it being told to us from our inner selves and we buy it.

They went because they didn’t want me there.

They went because they don’t really like me.

ouch. And you just imagine what happened afterwards because we all do it –

I started mirroring THEIR (mostly her) behavior. I stopped calling her. I wasn’t about to invite her to anything because if she didn’t want me I didn’t want her – even though I didn’t know any of that.

I worried about it, I ruminated on it, I vented to my husband about it – which I’m sure he loved. I created so much pain over it and for all I knew she was none the wiser about it. She didn’t know I was in such turmoil. She probably wasn’t thinking about me at all and not in a bad way just because she was probably thinking about her – like we all do.

So first thought to adopt to maintain healthy friendships – Take responsibility by asking yourself, What am I making it mean?

Just knowing and then owning your story is huge because it’s your story. Not the truth. Not what they really think. It’s a story and then from there you have options. Do I like that story? Do I want to keep that story? Is that story productive for me?

Next thought to adopt to maintain healthy friendships is: It’s not about me

Anytime we’re talking about other humans and what they say, do, or don’t do – it’s not about you. 

Seriously, it’s not. What others say or do has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with them and what they’re thinking, how they’re feeling, what they’re making it mean, what experiences they’ve had in the past, what biases they hold now, what limiting beliefs they’re hanging onto and not even knowing they’re hanging onto them.

It’s not about you.

There’s so much weight that we can take off our shoulders when we know this about others. 

When we make it about us we get defense – and we start mirroring their behavior – the very behavior we didn’t like in the first place.

Another thought to adopt is this: Amazing relationships reside on WANTS and not NEEDS

I feel like I should say that again: Amazing friendships reside on WANTS and not NEEDS 

We all have needs – we need to be seen, to be heard, to be loved, to be accepted, to have a voice, to be able to share

But the problem in our friendships comes when we outsource these needs to others – especially our friends. We believe as friends they should be on our side, they should be there for us, they should listen to us and want to hear what we have to say, they should ask us questions – they should be supportive.

There are so many pins, posts, quotes, etc out there that tell us what good friends are and every one of them has something to do with the other person doing something or being something specific.

That sounds good and lovely and noble but it invites in so much drama and pressure and unnecessary stress for us, for them, and for your friendship.

Drop the manual and stop outsourcing your needs.

100% acknowledge what you need. If you’re feeling uncomfortable or hurt – look inward. What’s going on? What am I making this mean? What do I want?

Going back to my example – If I had these tools then I would have asked myself: What do I want?

Well easy – obviously, I wanted to be invited – I wanted to go and be a part of that day – it sounded fun.

Then I would ask myself, if I had that – how do I think I’d feel?

Included, thought of, cared for, important

Those are my needs that I was unknowingly outsourcing onto them – and how are they supposed to even know that? OR be able to fill something that they don’t have access to. 

So figure out what YOUR needs are  and then work on filling those first

So here’s how you do that because I know you either ARE currently, HAVE in the past, or WILL in the future run into your own friendship/relationship drama and here’s what you’ll want to do to more forward and progress, ready?

Ask yourself the golden questions:

1.) What do I want?

2.) If I had that, how do I think I’d feel?

3.) How can I give to myself now?

INCLUDED – I needed to be included

I made their non-invitation mean that I was outside of the group that I wasn’t wanted

So here’s a biggie – we need to turn inward – the real question isn’t do they want me? Do they like me? Do they accept me?

It’s really, Do I like me? Do I want to spend time with me? Do I accept me?

Nothing they say or do will outweigh or replace these thoughts if you don’t love, accept, like, or want to be with you. That’s rule number one – we have to work on ourselves first.

Then it doesn’t matter if THEY don’t like you – because YOU like you. And when YOU like you – you won’t make it mean that they don’t like you – because you’re likable – of course they like you! And then you’ll offer them the benefit of the doubt and because of that YOU will feel better. 

See how amazing that works?

Give yourself what you need – if you need to be heard – HEAR yourself 

If you need to be validated – validate yourself

This looks like having the internal conversation with yourself as if you were having it with them. You say all the things you would WANT them to say and give it to yourself. 

When you take care of your NEEDS first then all that’s left is wanting and wanting can be so much fun. Wanting invites creation – how can we create that? hint: It always stems from your thoughts.

A friend is what you make it mean – what you believe it to be.

A friend doesn’t need to be anything other than someone for YOU to love. That’s it.

There’s no long list of what they NEED to be or how they NEED to show up. It’s just what you WANT to believe about them.

I would have still WANTED an invitation but needing it is a whole different ballgame.

When I WANT something I can have the conversation, “hey, I heard you went to a cool sale, I would have loved to go” – want not need

Need is, “I heard you went without me, why didn’t you invite me?”

See the different tone? One chooses to be sad and disappointed but they own that they’re disappointed because of their thoughts and not the other’s actions

And the needy one is- I needed you to be different so I could feel how I need to feel

And we have no control over the latter one. That’s where your doubts, fears, and insecurities lie. 

The fastest and only way to get out of victim mode – needy mode – is to take responsibility.

I’m feeling this way because I’m thinking a thought – I’m making it mean…

In all my relationships now – I start off my conversations like this, “when this happened, I made it mean this..”

That way there’s no need for defense – no one is starting a war – I’m just sharing with you what I’m feeling because of what I’m thinking and then you can choose to jump in and so often we mirror each others behaviors so imagine how different your friendships could be if you both took responsibility for your own creations.

That’s a game changer, my friends!

There’s SO MUCH more I want to bring to you when it comes to friendships but for the sake of time I’m going to leave you with one last thought to work on:

Be yourself and let others be themselves – this means you have no manual you just let the humans be human – and that includes yourself

Humans are so fun and amazing and diverse and I love it.  Some of my closest friends aren’t people that love everything I do but I choose to see them as honest, transparent, and authentic – because of that we get to be different and celebrate each other vs putting each other on a checklist and feeling frustrated they’re not who or what we want them to be

Friendships are amazing because they invite more love into our lives and love is powerful and feels the best and has us showing up as our best. 

We feel that love when we are mindful of the thoughts we think about our friends. A friend is just there for us to love them. The rest is my job and what I want. 

Some friends trigger more thought work because they’re different from me and so I have to be really curious about them and sometimes I choose not to – not because we’re not friends but because I don’t want to expend that energy like that today – but it’s not because they’re too much or I can’t handle them or they drive me crazy – see the difference in taking responsibility vs falling into victimhood?

Always take responsibility – it’s where your confidence lies and thrives 

My goal in friendships and all relationships is to get to love and to get to love there’s three steps:

Curiosity – what am I making this mean? Do I like my reasons? Do I like hanging out with me? I wonder why they did that? Do I like the story I’m telling myself? Is it even true? How would I feel if I didn’t believe that? Is it possible that?

Curiosity is all about questions and exploring. Curiosity is not about telling like we’re so used to doing. She did this, she said that, she’s being that…right? Telling- telling a story to yourself about them. That creates judgment and roadblocks and invites negative emotions instead invite curiosity.

Ask questions and the more you ask the more you’ll be open to a broader perspective about them, about you, about your friendship.

From here you can get to COMPASSION – compassion is such a beautiful feeling – of course they did that, of course she thought that, I can see how that happened, That’s a bummer she didn’t invite me – she missed out on a super fun day because I’m super fun. 

Compassion always leads to love

Love is, I don’t need her to invite me – I’m good at inviting – I’ll invite next time.

I don’t need her to validate me because that my job

If she doesn’t want to call or text me right now for whatever her reasons are that’s okay, I don’t need her to – I can call, text, or take care of me because I love her and I love me.

So often we wait for THEM to do something and we don’t need to – you’re good at it – you can offer that!

Just decide that you are the one.

If someone else calls we can think, oh that’s wonderful!

But I’m the one who makes the plans because who better than me. I’m good at the asking.

This doesn’t mean that we become a push over and just accept whatever – remember, it’s all about WANTS. When you fill your own needs then the rest is just for fun and what you want.

If you have someone who is consistently showing up late and you don’t prefer that – you can decide, I don’t want to do that today. Or I WANT to figure out a way to help her and to help me get what I want. You don’t have to know the HOW because the how looks different every time – you just need to focus on what you want.

It’s fun when friends get together from this space and really what that means is, it’s fun when YOU get together from that space – you’re open to new opportunities, new connections, a new friendships that was being limited by your old manual.

If things aren’t working out the way you thought they would – then what’s another way?

Showing up this way was A WAY but not the ONLY WAY.

Again, invite curiosity, invite compassion for them for you, then love is able to stay.

We maintain our friendships through the story we tell about them. Our stories create how we feel – which is why some friends can be apart for years and then pick up where they left off so easily- you think kind, amazing things about them so when you see them you feel kind and amazing around them.

Your thoughts create how you feel always – how you feel about them, how you feel about your friendship.

Friendships are all about fun, love, and expanding your capacity to broaden the depth and width to which you can experience joy and happiness.

Friends are all about wants -what you want, who you want to hand out with, who you want to love.

It’s such an abundant place to operate from and again, so fun.  1 making more friends – inviting more people into your scope to love and to have fun with

2. Increasing the quality of friendships you currently have

You will feel so much better, more rich and full because of this work.

Okay, so that was a longer loaded episode but if you start practicing these tools you can and will save and build and maintain strong, fun friendships, I promise!

So make sure to come back next week when we talk about how to say goodbye to friendships – how to know when to end it and how to find closure in it so you can feel at peace and confident, secure in yourself.

See you next time!

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