Do you know what makes up a friendship?
You use and enjoy friendship in your intimate and family relationships, in your business and work, how we are with family and with our actual “friends.” A friend is something we all have, something we all are… but what makes and builds a friendship?
The primary foundations of friendship is two fold: shared experiences and forgiveness. Shared experiences is so simple, but not so easy to accomplish in this day of Facebook and texting. It means we have time, or make time to be together. Face-to-face. We have a give and take with our words and communication. We invest in what the other person is doing and saying because it is important. Their topics are important to you because they and the relationship is important to you. We can easily loose touch with old friends because we are headed in different directions and no longer actively set aside time for each other. Shared experiences implies that we have fun together, there is joy!
It also means that we have enough exposure to each other that negative experiences will inevitably arise now and then. With having negative shared experiences it become obvious (but not necessarily easy) to know the value the other major portion of friendship, forgiveness. Friendship means valuing the good and forgiving the bad. Imperfect relationships involve imperfect people. Being a friend means that we have the strength and personal integrity to say “I’m sorry”. Being a friend means that we have the strength and personal integrity to know and understand the humanness of others and say “I forgive you.”
Just like any type of relationship, conflict arises between friends. Staying in the present is important when overcoming conflict. Bringing up past events of hurt or frustration to prove a point not only makes the conflict worse, but creates more tension as well.
It is important to work towards resolution and forgiveness around past conflicts, and not hold it over their head the next time we have tension. This can be really hard for us! Those old examples tend to immediately rise from the grave when conflict presents itself.
If forgiveness is the best friend of friendship, what do you suppose is the enemy? Selfishness. None of us like to admit it, but we all have to battle selfishness. When conflict arises, we have a hard time focusing on anyone else’s needs, thoughts and emotions other than our own. When we are fighting with our own selfishness we tend to forget or dismiss the importance of listening and understanding others.
Sometimes we just need to step back and take some time to think, or get a new perspective in order to reduce the tension that has arisen from the conflict at hand. Balance the presenting issue with the value of the relationship… this should help bring perspective.
So overall, friendship is about communication, sharing experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly of ourselves and each other. It is about forgiveness and watching out for selfishness. Friendship is about trusting another and refraining from judgment. Friendship is powerful and is an asset in every part of our lives. We are social beings. You can share in friendship by offering encouragement at home, prioritizing going on a date (even with a busy schedule), being a listening ear socially, forgiving a co-worker and by spending time with a family member doing what they enjoy. What will you do to give and invite more shared moments and forgiveness into your life today?