It can be fun to have reunions and enjoy catching up with each other, hearing the gossip, seeing how we have all changed. But if the whole of our social life is involved with people from our past it may well be that we need to consider the quality of our friendships, reflect on their influence in our lives. Nostalgia is fine on occasion, but improving the quality of our friendships and having different types of relationships can offer much in many other ways.
Some ways to improve the quality of your friendships:
– Duty can be an important part of friendship. There may be people with whom you spend time out of tradition, loyalty, continuity. They have known you all your life, better than anyone. But those connections and memories may be something that needs to be minimised at times. A positive influence is important, but if someone from your past is negative or unsupportive, keeps trying to hold you back, it may be time to consider removing their ability to influence you.
– Good friends should be prepared to listen and demonstrate respect for your worries and concerns at times when you need their support. Having someone who understands that you just need them to listen, or that you would benefit from their input and advice is important. Feeling safe and not judged for your behaviour or dilemma is a valuable part of a quality friendship. Quality friends are there for you when you need them.
– Compromise is important in relationships, but compromise works both ways. Your ideas deserve to be listened to, your suggestions should be valued and discussed. If your friends don’t appear to be interested in the activities, new ideas, things that you suggest maybe it’s time to introduce other new people who do.
– Confidence may need to be improved so you can introduce changes to suit you better. Many groups establish a certain dynamic, a regular, comfortable way of doing things. For some people continuity and predictability may well be fine. It’s an easy option to know where the gang meet regularly. Other people may prefer to dip in and out of such a rigid arrangement and use their free time in a variety of ways. Find the confidence to start voicing your own opinions and preferences.
– New people come into your life from many sources, work, the gym, introductions. There needs to be receptivity, an attitude of mind that welcomes friendly, positive new people into your life. Enjoy the opportunity to try new activities, appreciate their way of thinking, the new energy they bring into your life. It is important to make the time to nurture those relationships. Even meeting for coffee or lunch needs time to be allocated.
– Doing the things that you enjoy with people you like is an important commitment to yourself and your quality of life. Good friends deserve attention. They are the people who care about you, give good advice, understand where you’re coming from, the things that motivate or worry you. Having genuine people who have your best interests at heart is special. Even if you disagree with them or choose not to follow their advice the fact that they still respect you and stay friends is the sign of a quality relationship, a true friend.
Positive relationship support you and help you function better in your life. When you surround yourself with people from the different areas of your life you provide yourself with an important support network, the people who share your dreams, concerns, understand what your issues are. Some may be people from your past, others may have been acquired more recently. Making time and space in your life for quality friendships is important. Sometimes that requires letting go of the less supportive relationships.
Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples in crisis to improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams