What I’ve learned about friendship

Like most children growing up I assumed that having and keeping friends would be easy. I was adamant my friendship circle would be so enormous that it would forever keep me comforted, happy and secure.

I was so sure I would always have forever friends, best friends and a ‘bestest friend’ that when a relative told me I’d be ‘able to count my real friends on two hands by the time you’re 30’, I quickly (and furiously) rebutted that she was wrong, for me it would be different.

Fast forward to now in my 30th year and her words (delivered when I was 6 years old) carry some truths.

It has taken many lessons (good and bad) learned over years of friendships, personal growth and change to realise that my childhood friendship fantasy was just that, a fantasy.

So, what have I learned over the years that I wish I could tell my 6-year-old self?

  • Put time into the people who give you theirs
  • Don’t try to be everything for everyone and don’t be a pushover
  • Remember to treat your friends how you would like to be treated
  • Some friendships will end to no fault of your own (or theirs), accept this and know when to walk away. Sometimes friendships will just grow apart.
  • Always remember that friendship is a two-way street so don’t be lazy or complacent
  • Surround yourself with people who love, appreciate and value you
  • The friends that challenge you and make you grow are diamonds. Whilst at times you will butt heads based on differing opinions (and you’ll be tempted to call it quits) they will be responsible for so much of your personal and professional growth, so hold on to them tightly
  • Don’t change yourself for friends, especially if it means going against your heart
  • Remember that a friendship is like any relationship, if you wouldn’t accept it from your significant other then don’t accept it from a friend. Always call out negative behaviour.
  • Don’t join in on gossip or putting someone else down, it’s hurtful and speaks volumes on your insecurities as a person as opposed to who you’re belittling. I you can’t say it to their face, do not say it at all
  • If a friend has done something to hurt your feelings, tell them personally. They deserve the opportunity to explain their perspective before you draw your own conclusions
  • Don’t assume how your friends feel, ask them and don’t assume they know how you feel. You’re not a mind reader and neither are they.
  • Be someone who encourages their friends to grow as individuals (personally and professionally) and support their journey
  • Sometimes you will be the problem and not everyone will like you. Understand that and accept this ASAP, it will stop you being such a people pleaser
  • If someone takes the time to make you accountable for something, listen and learn. It’s how you’ll grow and honest friends are rare occurrences in life
  • You’ll have separate friendship circles for different parts of your life and its completely okay
  • Don’t expect your friends to be like you, it holds them to an unrealistic standard that they’ll never be able to achieve. Accept them for who they are and what they bring into your life.
  • Take accountability for your side and part in every in friendship before you start the ‘blame game’. It shows maturity.
  • Value the trust in your friendships because once broken, it’s hard to re-build
  • Tell your friends you love, appreciate and value them in your life, they need to hear it from time to time (but remember, you need to hear this from them too)

Are there things you’ve learned about friendship you’d like to share? Tell me below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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