By Nadine Briggs and Donna Shea
We’ve blogged many times about the reciprocal nature of friendship. As part of forming truly meaningful connections, each of us needs to decide which friendships deserve the most of our social energy. Especially during this pandemic, our energy might need to be conserved for really close friends.
For example, I (Nadine) tell kids all the time that having 100 friends would be exhausting. Trying to keep up with 100 people and to stay connected to their lives would be an impossible situation. By default, there would be those friends who get more of your attention and effort to keep in touch.
How do you decide?
- Do they keep their commitments to you? – Less social energy should be given to those who never have time for you or who constantly cancel or even don’t reply to your attempts to connect.
- Do they contact you or is it usually you who contacts them? – Friendships that tend to be slanted one way are not equal and might not deserve to get too much of your attention.
- Do they check in on you when you’re having a hard time? – Definitely invest time in those who not only know what is going on your life but those who follow up with how you are doing.
- Do they twist whatever you say to something negative? – some people will think you’re bragging when things are going well and complaining when things aren’t going so great. You can’t really “win” in this situation.
- Do they come to you with problems but then are disinterested when you bring your problem to them? – It can feel so great to be able to help a friend who comes to you for support but if the occasion arises when you need them and they are not willing to do the same, then it might be time to shift your energy elsewhere.
- Are they genuinely happy when good things happen to you? – It is really hard for a lot of people to be excited for others when things happen that are great for them. A true friend will be able to move beyond any envy and share in the excitement.
Friendships are so incredibly valuable. This has never been more true than it is now when our ability to socialize is being restricted. Getting together takes more planning and caution so spend that energy on those who value you as much as you value them.