- Gender and Relationships
A Season for Evaluating Friendships
How are your relationships with others? Are they uplifting? Do they breathe life into you? Are they draining? Do they cause you to feel dry and empty? Evaluating your friendships each year can help you ensure you are not overwhelmed with people who will take from you without having others who are pouring into you. Every friendship should include some give and take. Your friends should be there to support you, encourage you, and help you through the good and bad times. They should be there to talk, laugh, and play board games. They should be there to cry, help you figure out a tough situation, and watch your kids when you need an emergency sitter. Friends should be more than people you hang with to have fun; they should be an extension of your family.
Take time today to evaluate each friendship in your life. Do they encourage you, support you, esteem you? Do they help you through the tough times, offer a hand when you need one, and laugh with you through the good times? Do they provide something you are unable to fill elsewhere, such as mentoring, learning, or sistership/brotherhood? For friendships to be beneficial and uplifting, you should be able to reflect on how the friendship has helped you grow emotionally, professionally, mentally. You should be able to recall times the person was there for you when you felt alone. You should be able to recall times when you laughed for no reason or cried over the loss of something special. You should recall times of great competition and times of great support. While some friendships may come into your life for a season of giving or taking, most friendships should have both give and take. All friendships should leave you feeling full of life and looking forward to learning more about yourself and the world around you.
Letting go of friendships can be tough, but it is harder to maintain friendships with those who drain you. If you find that a friendship is ready to end, consider if a conversation is necessary and move forward accordingly. For some friendships, you may find the person never reaches out to you anyway, so you can save yourself the heartache of a “breakup” speech. Instead of staying friends for sake of staying friends, ensure the people you surround yourself with are esteeming you, supporting you, encouraging you, and helping you with each step you take, whether on the beach, through the wilderness, or up a mountain.
When you begin evaluating your friendships and making decisions on which to keep and which to let to of, consider the types of friendships you require in your life. One of the best decisions I made in my own life was when I began identifying mentors about 10 years ago. I looked for females who I could learn from, women who were different from me, who who had become what I hoped to one day be. By surrounding myself with people who I looked up to, I was able to identify areas that I wanted to improve, was empowered to make those changes, and was held accountable to make those changes.
For tips on identifying mentors, read these articles:
- 4 Tips for Finding Great Career Mentors
- Feed Your Career Octopus: Tips for Finding (and Keeping) Awesome Mentors
- How to Find a Mentor to Help You Go Further, Faster