Guest Post by Shasta Nelson
Much like spring cleaning where we don’t just throw everything away—rather we look for things to give away, recycle, repurpose, or simply clean and keep using–neither do we need to throw away every relationship that experiences the 5 threats of friendship: blame, jealousy, judgment, non-reciprocation, and neglect. Our goal is to eradicate the threats, not the friendships, if possible.
Here are 4 questions to ask ourself before ending friendships over one of the 5 threats:
- How can I show up a little more thoughtfully? Let’s first assume there is something we could do to enhance this friendship even if we feel she is the problem—what comes to mind? In other words—she may be jealous and we don’t want to play smaller to avoid her jealousy, but could we affirm her more? If we feel neglected, can we write her an email and say, “I miss you. Can we schedule some time together?”
- What is it I actually want from her? For example, if we feel that we’re always the one giving more than the other (non-reciprocation), then pause and ask ourself—what is it I actually want or need? If she just noticed what I gave and thanked me, would that be enough? Or is there a specific area I need her to give to me more? Or do I need to know what I do for her that means the most so I don’t waste my time or money giving to her in ways that aren’t all that important to her?
- Have I already asked her for what I need? We so often end friendships without taking the time to let the other person know what we need or how we feel. It doesn’t always have to be some big and difficult conversation as much as just some guidance where we can tell the other what’s more meaningful to us. If we feel frequently feel judged when she gives advice or opinions, then it’s appropriate to say, “I just need a friend to listen right now. I don’t need anyone to try to fix this.”
- What could forgiveness look like in this situation? Sometimes, forgiveness means letting go of how we want someone to be in our lives and learning to love and enjoy them just as they are, trusting that they’ll keep growing and maturing along the way. But sometimes forgiveness also means setting boundaries or limiting our exposure to those who have hurt us. In this case, if it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, what kind of a friendship might we still be able to enjoy?
The five friendship threats come from Friendships Don’t Just Happen!, the new book by Turner Publishing, written by Shasta Nelson, CEO of GirlFriendCircles.com—the women’s friendship matching site who is appearing on Katie Couric’s show on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.