Hi there! Welcome to Charlie’s Toolbox. This week we are discussing a timely topic, friendships. This episode was requested by the Charlie’s Toolbox community and is a topic that has been central to my life for a little while. So, like always let’s get into what’s going on with me, the song of the week, and finally the main topic.
What’s going on with me
A few months ago I had a friendship breakup with someone I considered a good friend. Long story short, I found out by probing that my good friend had been harboring a lot of resentment toward me.
The revelation hurt me so much. It hurt to realize that my friend did not like me at all. It hurt to know that she had been holding it in for a year. It also hurts to know that she made up character traits about me to justify why she does not like me.
It is jarring when you build a relationship with someone, and they see it drastically differently from how you view it. It is sad to see a friend struggle with her own issues and see it play out in such a tragic way.
Though it sucks to lose a friend, the silver lining is that I am very clear on who I am, and I didn’t allow her projection to distort that. I am also happy that the truth was revealed because you don’t want to have a sisterhood with someone who resents you. That’s how tragic things happen, and I like to avoid things like that.
Song of the week
The song of the week is Steal by Maribou State and Holly Walker. I heard it while watching the Netflix show, The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself. It’s just a cool vibe for when you are in your silk robe, smelling good, and doing your makeup.
So, onto the main topic…. The elements of a friendship. I love this topic because friendships are relationships that have poured into me, they’ve taught me how to be vulnerable, how to love unconditionally, how to be myself, and how to create boundaries. If it weren’t for them, I would not be the person I am today. Not only that, but I also chose the right people with the right heart to pour into me. This topic is also very timely because I needed a reminder of what I looked for in friendships and the possibilities of those friendships.
Friendships are amazing because society has not trained you to seek these out like they do romantic relationships. You aren’t bonded by blood like family. These are just people you chose on your path that made life better or sometimes worse.
In this episode, I will discuss six elements to keep in mind while thinking about friendships you currently have, are open to, or are making decisions on. I chose these six because you can build love on top of it and friendships can flourish when love is being cared for and nurtured.
Type of Maintenance
One of the biggest traits you should be aware of is the type of maintenance level you and your friends are. The reason being is that a mismatch in maintenance levels can result in perceptions and intentions being skewed.
For example, If the low-maintenance friend does not check in, or propose dates, the high-maintenance friend may perceive that as a lack of interest, dislike, or that the friendship is not that important to the low-maintenance friend.
Whereas if the high-maintenance friend continues to reach out, asks to go out, and proposes new ideas, the low-maintenance friend may view it as too demanding, too much, or overwhelming.
These two types of people are neither wrong nor right in what they need in their friendship. They are simply two people with different definitions of friendship that they must articulate to people and give grace if people with different levels of maintenance disappoint you because it's their nature and not a slight.
Foundational Mutual Respect
There also must be an element of respect between you and your friends. I truly believe that respect is an element that is required to love. This is a big one that I have seen in friend groups. I’ve seen friend groups that go out, meet guys, and disrespect each other. They do this and harbor resentment, wait for the right time to embarrass the other, or wait for the perfect time to hurt the other.
Respect is the attitude of accepting others’ differences. Even if you don’t understand it, you accept it because you love the person. You give those things that you may not understand the space to be because you respect them. You don’t use who they are against them. If you don’t have the space to be and you aren’t allowing those around you to be without respect, why are you staying friends with them?
Jealousy & Competition
You can’t have a true friendship with jealousy and competition. Don’t get me wrong, a healthy form of competition where you inspire each other to reach higher is ok. But downright nasty envious, negative, festering emotions for your friend means there is a self-esteem or self-worth issue that you need to fix. You also need to fix it away from your friends because it is not fair to subject them to those feelings that have nothing to do with them.
If you are the person who is the subject of jealousy, then ask yourself two things. One, are you sure it is jealousy, or are you delusional? And if it truly is jealousy and secret competition ask yourself if you are truly safe around someone who secretly wishes you the worst. Are you safe around someone who sees your wins as her losses? Friendships are for vulnerability. Friendships are where you are supposed to feel safe, and you can’t truly feel safe around someone who wants you to lose.
Every relationship has conflict. However, relationships that are healthy, sustained, and full of love have one thing in common and that is they know how to resolve a conflict. They know how to say that hurt me when it hurt. They know how to say I am sorry when they hurt one another. They know how to take a deep breath and say can I come back to the conversation when I am level-headed? Do they know how to say give me a second? Do they know how to say what can I do to make this better?
Behind conflict resolution is respect. It is respect and love to know that if I tell you how I feel, you will honor it. Or if you tell me how you feel, I will honor it. It is faith. It is knowing that your friendship is filled with love and respect and because of that, anything you say will be taken with love and respect.
Space for Growth
Finally, friendships require space for growth. People change. No matter how much we wish they’d stay the same, they don’t. So, you must prepare for growth. You must ask yourself if you can make room for this growth. You must ask yourself if your friends are making room for your growth. And If you can’t or they can’t, that is ok too because sometimes growth creates people who no longer have anything in common and that happens. It makes no one wrong or bad. It’s simply the growth and unfortunately, it led you all down two different paths. However, if you do plan to continue to be friends with someone who grew, you must make room for this new person, not throw their past in their face, and accept this new POV because your friend needs this to feel free and loved as this new person they just became.
When you look at all these elements: Knowing your level of maintenance, Foundational mutual respect, , Jealousy & Competition, Conflict resolutions, and Space for growth, the thread that ties all these together is self-awareness. You need to be aware enough to know who you are, what you like, what you can make room for, and what you can’t make room for. You also need self-awareness to know what it feels like when your friends aren’t making you feel loved. When you know yourself and are aware of how you feel, you can easily be a good friend and you can also know quickly when someone is not being a good friend to you.
And on that note, take care!