By: Gabbi Rose, Guest Contributor
When it comes to having friends, you would think we should have been born with a manual. But in all reality, making friends takes a little bit of skill. Chances are that you know the basics, right? You start with something like “Hello, my name is….”; or “What’s your name?” followed by a healthy round of “What do you like to do?” Afterwards, if the conversation leads to “Lets do something that we like together,” you’re already well on your way to carving out a new friendship. Once you find people who have similar interests (and presumably a nice name) this system generally works out pretty well. However, what do you do when your friends do not want to hang out with you? This can be super stressful, because navigating the waters of a young woman’s mind can be an upsetting experience.
What I am about to say may completely change the way that you look at friendship. I am going to suggest three things that you can do right now to give you a better social life, by learning how to be a really great friend.
First of all, think about what qualities you like in a friend. Are they outgoing (like you?), or do they like to be shy (like you?). We all know that opposites attract, right? Have you ever heard anyone say: “Like attracts Like?” It’s true. If you smile,people will mostly smile back. The idea that positive energy will attract positive energy is a good reminder when it comes to friendship. We can begin by taking a good look at our friends and considering whether or not we even want to have a close friendship with them. Are they the kind of people who reflect our values? Are they kind to others? Do they gossip negatively about others?
Next, remember that friendship is built over time. We get to know one another, releasing sensitive information about who we are, over time. In doing so, we learn about each other, and consider whether or not to take the relationship to the next level. It’s nice to keep some of your friends friendly, but maybe not “bestie” status. So if one friend is pushing you away, try giving them some space and checking in with them again in a few days. If they are still acting closed off, remember that it is your opportunity to be a good friend. The choice is yours: are you the type of friend who pushes in and forces your friend to talk? Or do you choose instead to back off gently, reminding them that you love them and will give them some space because you love them?
And lastly, don’t take anything personally, ever. Definitely feel free to take responsibility for your actions and say you are sorry when you are wrong. But when it comes to friends, you are not responsible for the poor decisions of others. If your friend gossips, or is mean to you, it likely has more to do with them than it does you. Think about it: when you are happy, do you go hit your brother, or steal someone’s lip gloss? No. When we are happy, we do nice things naturally. So if your friend is being mean, well they must have something else going on.
A good friend knows when to lean in and also when to walk away.
Gabbi Rose is the Founder of Hoopnotica, a program which teaches all of the different ways that we can connect to our bodies through the graceful art of hula hoop dance. She is also a mother of two, and lives in Venice, CA. Gabbi is passionate about entrepreneurialism, and is always looking for ways that young people can give back in their communities. She currently works as the Director of Experience for Advance Camps; designing experiences in faraway lands for people to enjoy and explore.
Featured image via dailytravelphotos.com