What kind of friend am I anyway?
Usually when I talk to someone about making new friends, they gasp after I walk them through the steps they say, "I can't do that. It's easy for you but I'm not that outgoing". I'll agree with you that I'm outgoing but I wasn't always this outgoing, friendly or composed when speaking to strangers. I also had to do many and many self assessments so I could finally say, "This is the kind of friend I am and the kinds of friends I'm looking for and to be honest, self-assessment is a life long thing!
This is why our first stop in this month's series, "Making friends and connections", is self-assessment.
The very question, "What kind of friend am I anyway?" dives into many more questions but first, why even ask this question and do a self-assessment? I would say that forming friendships and maintaining them takes loads of emotional intelligence. For me, the only way to describe what kind of friendships you want is for YOU to know what kind of friend YOU ARE! It's like planning a goal or roadmap, you gotta know your destination, assess if you've got the skills to get you there with what you've got! Can you drive that distance? Do you have the stamina? I got to tell you, the drive and stamina change year by year so annual check ups will be needed.
Knowing yourself and what you can offer as a friend will save you many future understandings but warned, even the skilled and most practiced, individuals can have mishaps here and again. Expect them! This is life and we are every changing creatures so we must embrace the ups and downs of life!
What kind of friend am I? Describe with a list of words. Some words that come to mind are friendly, nice, warm, honest. Then I would ask you to go one step further by describing what does friendly look like? What does nice look like? So on and so forth with each word.
Can I genuinely say that I've practiced or embodied these character traits with each of the friends that keep in touch with now?
This one's a doozy because you're going to have to go through your contact list or your current message list and see if you've embodied these character traits with everyone you're currently in touch with. If one comes up that you can do better then you'll ask yourself...
Why have I not been practicing these traits with this person?
Is it me? Am I feeling resentful?
Is it them, are they not being a good friend?
That last question is a great segue into describing what a "good friend" is in detail. What are the things that a good friend does or doesn't do?
I love this one so much because you can have your own interpretation of what a "good friend" is that is completely yours! This is something that you can agree to disagree because it is just that, YOUR OPINION!
I'll add that there are some simple foundation principles when it comes to being a good friend that everyone should abide by and everything after that is your opinion. You may think that gossiping about a friend is nice until it happens to you then you realize that gossip is never fun. (Trust me, I had to learn this one the hard way). I did a quick search on the topic and I found a good list. (By the way, I found this list filed under "Healthy Relationships: A Guide for Teens". )
I would encourage you to keep it simple with this list below but you know the basics with any relationship are kindness and considerate.
Lastly, emotional intelligence it's the special spice added to the mix to see if you've got the goods when it comes to being a good friend but also a good human. I believe being self-aware and aware of others' feelings and emotions are important ingredients in growing and nurturing relationships.
Psychologist, Daniel Goleman, identified five elements that make up emotional intelligence. They are:
Taking a self inventory isn't easy. Sometimes, you have to call a friend to help you. If you really ready go a few rounds with your ego in the name of growth get started and let us know how you did below in the comments.
Good luck, girl!
Behavior Analyst and Personal Life Coach. Changing behavior one step at a time. Keeping things simple because it's easier that way.