Signs of a Real Friendship

Hey there and happy Monday! I’ve taken a much needed break and it felt so good. Granting myself a little grace every now and then has been something I’m learning to get comfortable with. The funny thing is though, that even if I’m not publishing a post, I’m thinking of it. My head is a constant swirl of ideas, especially when it comes to these kinds of posts – those with more of a mental health-ish theme. Today I am sharing the signs of a real friendship with you – you may agree with my list, you may add or subtract from it – you might even think it’s complete nonsense. But, I call it success if it gets you to think and evaluate friendships at all!

Signs of a Real Friendship

As a woman of a certain age, I have had lots of experiences with friendships and acquaintances over the years. They haven’t all been easy nor healthy. I’ve had my fair share of hurt feelings and I’m quite sure I have hurt feelings too. With age and experience comes wisdom though so none of it has been in vain. I consider myself quite blessed to have close friends who have been in my life for years and years. What I learned in Girl Scouts years ago was true “make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.”

Things the Real Friends Do

Sometimes you can just tell when you meet someone that you’re going to hit it off. But overall I think what sets a real friendship apart is how you show up for each other. Here are a few of the things I look for in a friend and what generally sets apart friends from acquaintenances.

Real friends make time for each other – It may not be an every day occurrence but a real friend values your time together. Spending time together isn’t a chore it’s a choice. Everyone is busy but real friends will make the time for each other. Period.

Real friends are genuine and they expect you to be genuine too. There’s no game playing, no lying, no trying to one up the other person when you are with a real friend.

Real friends talk about things openly and honestly. I know I have mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating. Feelings get hurt for a number of reasons. Real friends talk about it and learn from the experience. If you don’t talk about it openly and honestly, resentments start to build. It’s also worth mentioning that if you do have hurt feelings speak directly to the friend and not to other friends first.

Real friends stay in your life for more than just a season. It’s true that friendships ebb and flow and people come into our lives at different times and for different reasons. But the real friends – they aren’t going anywhere. I like to think of the 5 people I’d want to see if I knew I was dying. Who would I care to see and spend time with? When I think of these people I realize that we’ve weathered many storms together. They know who I am and I know who they are.

What to Do If You Want More Friends

Midlife can get lonely. Maybe your kids have grown, you are an empty nester, maybe you’re retired, etc. There are a lot of reasons our social scene has changed. No matter what the cause is, if you want more friends GO MAKE THEM. I know, easier said than done. But that is in fact the only way to overcome loneliness. No one can do it for you.

Find ways to connect with others. Whether it’s in person or virtually, it can be done. You’ll have to be intentional by joining groups and trying them out. You cannot give up. If one experience doesn’t work out you move on to the next YOU DON’T GIVE UP.

You’ll also need to be a friend. Look at what you bring to the table. Are you someone you’d like to be friends with? Are you spending your time complaining? Try this: smile and offer a genuine compliment to someone. Rather than launch into a one sided conversation all about your life try asking a friend about theirs. Also? When they start talking start LISTENING without interrupting. That’s the best way to show a friend you value them.

Sometimes you’ll find a friend in an unusual way or place. Allow yourself to be open to the experience. Remember to be true to who you are – you should not have to change or present a version of yourself that isn’t authentic to make a friend.

Let me know what you think about this topic! I’d love to hear from you.

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