especially during times they need you most.
every relationship serves a purpose. ideally a meaningful purpose. where there is mutual benefit within the connection that is giving and not taxing. that is supportive and not hurtful. that is caring and not dismissive. too often, however, our friends who are closest to us get treated in ways that become taxing and hurtful and dismissive.
the invitation is always there to bring back to balance if off balance. to mend if needed. but if you are unaware or unconscious or uninterested that just further drives what bonded you and can become beyond repair. but before that happens. before this breach. before nothing can be done. be proactive in each of your connections using one or both of these tools.
2 ways to be a better friend.
friendventory. give yourself a good block of time. make it an hour. and sit with yourself minus all distractions and craft a list of words that best describe you as a friend in general. don't censor yourself or craft just an aspirational friend version of you. the real you. don't worry about it being too long or too short. there is no grade. just information. once you are done with the general list bring to mind one person in your circle and reference your list to that relationship. are you that way sometimes, always, or never. do this for as many friends as you desire.
this activity isn't about seeing what kind of friend someone is to you. this is about seeing what kind of friend you are to them. and what you can do to better it. if you notice you're in the "sometimes" or "never" category in a friendship think of ways you might be able to show up differently to bring it more so to "always" or at least "sometimes" + if you're in the never category with someone across the board get curious and wonder why that might be. and ask yourself: do i value this relationship enough to water it more. do i value this relationship enough to let it go.
see this friend inventory assessment as a check-in you return to often.
notice the signs. you know your friendship best. you know your person best. you know how they engage when they are happy and how they disengage when they are sad. the noticing is in the details. when you get one-word responses when you usually get paragraphs. when you get the side of them no one else does but you aren't seeing much of that side anymore. when you get the feeling there's a shift trust that there has been a shift. don't think it will pass. see it as your sign to tap in with them to get the full full version and not the short short version. if something is going on: one way to be a better friend to them would be to tell them you're there when they need to unpack. that you are there when they are ready to express themselves in whatever way they need to.
notice if you are disengaging. notice if you are short. notice if you are withholding. notice if you are feeding off of their shifting energy and turning that into the divide instead of using it as a guide to reinforce the friendship. someone has to be the anchor. someone has to pull together.
the next time you interact perhaps try asking: how are we doing. how are we really doing.
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