Today’s focus on friends takes us to part 4 of a five part series on how all sorts of relationships benefit from constructive criticism. I’m covering key tips on how to give constructive criticism, and how this type of feedback benefits our relationships with family, significant others, managers and mentees, and friends.
From One Circle to Another
As far as friends go, I’ve changed circles many times in my life and have learned a lot from each migration. Sometimes we’re compelled to make new friends because we change schools, move to a new state, get in nasty fights, or we just develop different interests and grow apart. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t feel as close to some of your friends as you used to. We are all constantly changing, and as these shifts occur, so do our priorities and our taste in friends.
The Freedom to Choose
One of the greatest things about having friends is that we can choose them. I’m sure a lot of you have changed circles of friends multiple times during your lifetime. It’s perfectly normal and quite common. As we relocate, experience life changes, and change interests, we tend to lose touch with friends from our past. You do not have to stay friends with anyone. Your time is valuable, so treat it that way and choose who you want to be around.
Avoid Clones And Break Free of Your Comfort Zone
It’s really beneficial to seek out a variety of friends. Clones are boring. Getting to know people with different backgrounds, careers, goals, etc. can really open your eyes, dissolve prejudices, and help you become a better person. For example, I’ve learned so much about Jewish, Korean, and Indian cultures from a few friends I’ve made that I probably never would have known about if we hadn’t met.
Trust Takes Time
Select your friends carefully and be wary about whom you trust, especially when it comes to revealing personal issues and money matters. I’ve been burned by so-called “friends” in the past and wish I’d listened to my instincts before spilling out personal stuff. Make sure you really get to know someone before any divulging info you don’t want leaked out.
Forget the Flakers
Friendship needs to go two ways or you’ll just end up getting frustrated and hurt. Are you the one who’s always arranging to meet up, buying the movie tickets, and lending money that you never get back? Pay attention to these signs. If your friend flakes on you three times, trust me – move on. Flaking is a sign of disrespect and a lack of interest.
Once you find friends that you care about who also reciprocate back, really treasure those relationships. Be there for each other and take the time to actually meet up and go places together. Texting and emailing is a convenient way to stay in touch but shouldn’t be your primary means of communication.
Share Honestly And Listen
A meaningful friendship isn’t built on gossiping and trash talking. Share advice with each other and be honest. Your true friends will know your weaknesses and will have the decency to tell you what they are, while standing by your side so you can get better.
Use their knowledge to your advantage and ask them along the way if they think you’re improving when you’re working on conquering your faults. Take the time to help them out with their faults too. Even though you’re close friends and you’ve seen each other’s highs and lows, don’t take that for granted. Be nice when you give each other feedback and show that you care.
Another great thing about constructive criticism with friends is it doesn’t have to be serious or formal. Turn it into something fun like having a feedback swap and come up with a few things you each want the other to work on and plan a reward if you both are successful. Keep things light and motivate each other with positive compliments and finding ways to make each other laugh along the way.
Untemplaters, what have you learned from your friends? Are your friends supportive and there for you when you need them?
Buck Inspire says
I guess friend migration is natural. It’s like chapters in a book. Sad sometimes, but that’s life. I have a few close friends and keep them close. Amazing how blogging has opened a whole new world of online friends with common goals and passions!
Yeah it is a bummer to think about sometimes. I had a best friend in high school that I thought I’d be close to the rest of my life but after I switched schools and she went off to college she went radically in a different direction and we didn’t have as much to relate to anymore and grew apart. We tried to get together on breaks, but things just weren’t the same so we went our separate ways. I tried to reconnect with her on facebook last year but it didn’t go anywhere so I let it go. Blogging really is a great to way to connect with people all over the world for learning, support, and motivation!
I’ve learned I will not let any friend borrow money. Thankfully no friends have asked me but if they’re looking for a few hundred dollars or more to borrow, no way. I’ve been around too many situations to see people get screwed when lending out money.
I’ve found many friends online this year and have found them more supportive. I suppose it’s cause they’re striving for similar goals or don’t hesitate for a second when I tell them what I want to achieve. My offline friends would be more confused, or indifferent.
Happy 4th of July Sydney!
Luckily the most I’ve had to lend my friends is $20 on a few occasions. I didn’t get my money back two or three times, but I haven’t let it bother me because it wasn’t the same person more than once. I’d be uncomfortable lending more than a few hundred myself too unless it was one of my 2 best friends b/c they are like family to me and I’d want to help them.
I understand what you’re saying about the support from people online, esp. in regards to the entrepreneurial spirit. My friends offline don’t have a clue about what it’s like to blog and run a website so we usually talk other stuff and our shared interests when we hang out.
Happy 4th to you too! 🙂
Maintaining friendships take A LOT of effort! It’s always sad and frustrating when people don’t reciprocate. But, that’s simply a sign to move on and find new ones.
The easiest friends I’ve found are the ones who simply share a passion eg tennis, blogging, traveling, finance, for me. If we have that commonality, it helps keep us together for a long time!
Online friends are very fun too. It’s so easy to connect nowadays!
Having a common interest or experience to relate to really does help friendships last and build bonds. And you’re right with the surge in social media it’s easy making friends online and keeping in touch with ones that are far away. Just make sure you really get to know people you’ve only met only through the web before giving out any personal info. Scammers are usually easy to sniff out but they are getting smarter and using sneakier means to trick people so it helps to be a bit cautious.