Friendship Contracts

Deeply rewarding friendships serve as the emotional pillars of our lives — lending strength, character, and beauty to our existence. For the most part, humans are pack animals, happiest and most productive in close association with their own kind. We invest a great deal of time and energy into initiating, maintaining, and enhancing a myriad of friendships, some of which last a lifetime.

Few would argue the value of these relationships. It’s apparent that most of us need the support and love we derive from these intimate connections. But not all friendships are mutually beneficial or even healthy. Since we’re ever-changing, it should come as no surprise that even friendships that begin serendipitously can become toxic over time. So what makes a good friendship and how do we keep them?

What Friendships Mean
We can only be as good of a friend to others as we are to ourselves. So the more we believe in and love ourselves, the more authentic our relationships will be. If we are suffering spiritually from a lack of self-esteem and self-love, we will be unable to offer adequate love and support to our friends in their times of need.

Quality friendships enhance the experiences of our lives. They sustain us through the challenges and sorrows that we inevitably face. Devoted friends act as mirrors for us when we aren’t being true to ourselves — reminding us of who we really are, no matter what obstacles and insecurities we may be facing. They care for us, even on our worst days when strangers probably would avoid us like a deadly virus, because they know we are better than that moment of poor judgment or weakness. They are there for us to share in our joys and successes, as well as our losses and failures.

Communication is key to any relationship. So be honest and upfront about what you want and expect, and what you intend to deliver. Define what that means — as specifically as possible. In the long run, it makes for healthier friendships.

Growth is Crucial
The famous adage, “the only thing constant is change,” can also apply to our friendships. It’s true for our spiritual selves — as well as our outside environment. School, jobs, family, health considerations, and a host of other factors contribute to our ever-changing world and our mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. In a lasting friendship, our friends grow with us. Our evolution — and theirs — may or may not arise from parallel experiences, but the people we become on this journey. That’s what enhances the new bonds of friendship.

Taking Inventory
All relationships require effort to sustain them. When a friendship is healthy and balanced, the investment or effort is easy — we are receiving as much from the friendship as we are giving. But when a friendship is or becomes unbalanced, the relationship can feel draining and negative, and ultimately one person will resent the other. If two friends can’t develop a healthier connection, the friendship will not endure.

Another time to take stock is when we realize we have less and less in common with our friend. Circumstances often add new friendships to our lives, but as our situation changes, the friendship must be able to transcend the original connection, or its foundation will begin to erode.

Free will reminds us that we choose to reduce or eliminate our personal circle of contacts as we become more self-aware and protective of our mental health. Ultimately, friendship gives us access to what is best about human nature, regardless of its challenges and how vulnerable it can make us. Like romantic relationships, it’s a risk well worth taking. Myles Connolly said it best in his book, Mr. Blue, “Friendship, at worst, is an investment. Your friend, no matter how he may turn out in the end, is an addition to your life. He brings some things, and whatever his disloyalty, these things he cannot take away.”

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  1. Pingback: Are Your Divorced Friends Hurting Your Marriage? | California Psychics Blog

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