A Little Friendly Research Part 4

Part 4. Go ahead and catch up on Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, or what got it all started.

(It is okay, we will wait.)

In order to learn more about friends and friendships, I asked some of the followers of this blog and the answers appear below.

Question 4: How much time in a given week do you think about friendships?

Probably an hour at the least and a few hours at the most a day, but probably every day.

It ebbs and flows….when life is busy, not as much, but I am okay with that because I feel safe knowing that they aren’t intentionally forgetting me and vice versa.

Depends on the week/work/kids etc. probably 3 hours if you count weekly coffee catch-ups.

I think about friendships less often, but they come to mind typically when there’s a special event approaching like a birthday, anniversary… or this survey.

Well, if you could see inside my brain…

I think about my friends many times throughout the week.

A lot, and I’ll leave it at that. Probably because that’s sort of a sore spot for me right now.

As a single person, they are my family. I pray for them as they are at their jobs, with their family etc.

In tougher times, when they might be going through a difficult period, and vice versa I invest more time and thought.

Would always like it to be more.

This week, thanks to this survey, a lot. In the typical week, very little.

I think about friends a lot. Daily, maybe hourly.

And I try to find ways to pass along a cheer or a love note or something to remind them they have someone who is FOR them.

Almost every day.

On to Question 5. Question 9 will be here before we know it.

Let’s press on together.

I promise, it is worth it.

 

 

 

 

A Little Friendly Research Part 3

Part 3 of a series on friends and friendship. You can read part1, part 2 or the inspiration to ask them first, or jump right in.

In order to learn more about friends and friendships, I asked some of the followers of this blog and the answers appear below.

Question 3: What do you expect from a friend?

Honesty, understanding, trust, that they have your back.

See questions 1 and 2.

Fun, support, honesty in their advice and honesty when it comes to our relationship (if the other person is upset with me they will say it or if they need me to make more of an effort).

Basically what I outlined in question 1, with the understanding that they won’t always meet these “goals” and that they’ll *&#$ up sometimes (and I will too) because we’re human and not capable of perfect relationships. But you’ve gotta try … more often than not, you’ve gotta be trying if I’m trying.

I also expect that if I am failing as a friend, they will tell me.

See question #1.

(Author’s Note, ok, ok, I get it, question 3 was a similar question!)

I think one of the things that I expect the most is that my friends are FOR me, even when I am not around. I can trust that they think of me occasionally, pray for me, don’t talk negatively to others about me and pay attention to the things that make me smile.

Love and respect.

Truth. Truth in love. But truth.

I try to not have expectations of my friends, because I don’t think its fair to. I’d like to think that I’ve chosen wisely and surrounded myself with people that would make the choice to step up when they can – and haven’t felt alone or disappointed yet.

My love language is time and words of affirmation. So those are things that will most easily reach my heart.

On to question 4. The journey continues.

 

A Little Friendly Research Part 2

Part 2 of this series on friends and friendship. For a little background, check out Part 1, or the inspiration for this series of questions. In short, instead of rattling off things in my own head about friends and friendship, I asked you and your answers did not disappoint!

Question 2: Do you think friendship is hard? Why or why not?

In general, no. I think true friendship is like breathing; it’s just there (and when you stop breathing, or stop friending something catastrophic will happen).

Sometimes it is hard, self-less, sacrificial investment and sometimes it is as easy as breathing – just something that you do naturally.

Commitment to staying in touch takes effort but worth it.

Obviously I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think friendship itself is hard. I do have a difficult time finding friends (i.e. people who want the same things I want from friendship and who are willing to work to make friendship a priority).

When I develop a close friendship, I go into fear mode because I’m afraid I will lose it. There’s a lot of fear in my friendships now that I think about it, and I don’t know what that means but it’s kind of sad.

That is not to say that friendship is not work; it needs effort and care and to be a good friend you have to know how to put other people ahead of you when appropriate.

I think maintaining long distance friendships can be “hard” because both sides have to make an effort. I don’t think friendship is hard when you are work friends or they are part of your daily/weekly social circle.

I am not always a good friend to others because I also struggle with my own insecurities about opening up to other people, being hurt, rejected, etc. Sometimes I get these random fears that my friends actually all hate me and think I’m pathetic and wish I would go away, but again, that’s my own garbage.

Depending on the person some are easy and some are difficult but usually you can determine and take it from there.

If I find a friendship consistently difficult, one where I feel myself afraid to be who I really am or find myself sacrificing all the time, I re-evaluate if there is a really a friendship going on, or more a ministry.

Yes, especially as it grows. You move passed the “courtships” to the “marriage” where you begin to see each other’s faults. You know that you care for them enough and vice versa that you are willing to ride the waves of petty differences and hardships because you value who they are, and you are in it for the long hall.

It can also be hard because conflict is inevitable. Both must be willing to be humble enough to own their own “stuff,” make it right, and love enough to let go and move on.

Sometimes when I’m afraid I’ll go dark on them because I figure that if they can’t find me or they’re not thinking about me, then they won’t leave.

I will work hard, through conflict, distance and silence for friends I know value me.

You know that you care for them enough and vice versa that you are willing to ride the waves of petty differences and hardships because you value who they are, and you are in it for the long hall.

It can be hard. I have to choose to see my friends—being with my friends doesn’t just happen. Decoding another’s secret protocols is tricky.

On to question 3. Thank you for taking this journey with us.

 

 

 

A Little Friendly Research Part 1

Friendships have been on my mind lately.

Who has them? How do they work? What makes a good one?

Instead of providing my viewpoint, I asked you a series of questions.

A big thank you to all who courageously hit reply.

Question 1: What are the best attributes of your good friends?

They are funny, encouraging, and engaging.

They listen to listen, not to reply.

They are always good listeners when I need it, comic relief, and supportive.

They laugh at themselves and at me.

They like to laugh and to play and are wickedly funny in a way that’s not always appropriate.

Integrity, safety/security (based on trust, understanding, compassion, and forgiveness), humor, honesty.

Being there for each other emotionally and spiritually and being a great ear and supporting.

They ask me how my soul is on regular basis.

They listen, ask questions, and show genuine interest/concern in others.

They ask good questions and are ok if I have to not respond for a while.

They’re willing to be real – authentic, vulnerable and open.

They are consistent.

They value friendship and are willing to work through distance, conflicts, etc.

They cheer me on to do the things that scare me most.

They are kind, encouraging, and they try to keep a positive outlook.

We can always “pick up where we left off” no matter how much time has passed since we’ve seen each other in person.

Will accept you for who you are but will call you out when you are being stupid.

They are ready to offer a shoulder to cry on or boot up my ass and aren’t afraid to ask me which one I need most.

We can shift conversations from the deep places to the hilarious and irreverent and back again and not lose our way.

I think all relationships exist on a continuum with the shallow/superficial at one end and the secret at the other. What makes a friendship close is the ability to go from one end to the other, sometimes in the same conversation. Between the two endpoints are additional points—the silly, the serious, the sacred, the sacredly silly. Note: I’m pretty sure the continuum isn’t just populated with words that begin with s.

Again thank you for being part of this experiment. You didn’t have to, but maybe there was a lesson in that simple act of replying.

There were 8 more questions. And the answers just keep getting better and better.

Go Ask Them

Go Ask Them (1)

Friendship has been on my mind lately.

How do friendships work? What makes the best friends? Am I a good friend? What do we need most from friends?

In the past I offered advice for bad friends, but what about the good ones? How do you cultivate solid friends in life?

The other day while discussing friendship with my Bride, I got some solid advice.

“So, friendships and what makes the best ones have been swirling around in my head.”

“Are you going to write about friendship?”

“I think so, but I am not sure where to get the best information to write about friends.”

“Why don’t you Go Ask Them?”

Great advice.

And Go Ask Them is what I did.

The next few posts will summarize the results.

But.

Just as my finger was about to hit the POST button this morning, it dawned on me how that advice was universally brilliant.

Wondering how to better connect with your employees?

Go Ask Them.

Wondering what new offerings would best serve your customers?

Go Ask Them.

Wondering how to be a better spouse or partner?

Go Ask Them.

Wondering how to be a better parent to your kids?

Go Ask Them.

Wondering what role would best help your aging parents?

Go Ask Them.

Sometimes we just assume we know best. We have an idea and run with it. We are trying to help.

We don’t always meet the mark.

Next time, follow the advice.

Go Ask Them.

Becoming Equals

They needed some coaching, so you helped encourage and develop.

You needed to run your first 5K, so they helped you train.

They needed to lose weight, so you helped with healthy options, accountability, and support.

You needed assistance with strategy, so they helped provide perspective, options, and focus.

They needed to find a better career, relationship, or life-goal, so you provided some guidance.

You were a little scattered and out there, so they helped organize and ground you.

They were a little structured and serious, so you helped them be messy and fun.

These relationships start in interesting ways.

One of you needs something, and the other is there to help.

At first the roles were clear.

One of you is the expert, coach, parent, mentor, counselor, or consultant. The other one needs what you have.

One of you is giving, the other is receiving.

Typically this approach only works for the short-term. Once the need is met, you disengage and move on.

But sometimes, these relationship continue.

These relationships begin to change.

You are Becoming Equals.

What was once mentoring becomes mutual assistance or expertise.

What was once consulting becomes sharing ideas together.

What was once coaching becomes both playing at the same level.

What was once parenting becomes more like a friendship.

Becoming Equals doesn’t happen overnight.

Becoming Equals requires both of you to shift.

Becoming Equals allows both of you to shine.

One day you notice the person who use to run a few steps behind you is now at your side, and even ahead of you.

One day you are both leading.

One day you are both moving forward.

There is a time and place for the first roles.

But there is something more.

Something better.

Becoming Equals may be what makes relationships really great.

Becoming Equals may be what makes relationships last.

 

Go Live

While savoring both the conversation and the breakfast with a close friend, we discussed our lives as well as writing.

When, how, why, and what do we write?

How do ideas develop?

What makes something worth reading?

What do you do when ideas do not come?

How does that concept sit still for so long, then all at once it shouts at you to be put out into the universe?

I had a revelation and shared it with my friend.

“I realized recently that when I am getting writers block or feel stuck, it is the result of not really living life. Those times when I cannot seem to write are the exact moments when I am more closed off to others, not engaged, or distracted by the pressures of life.”

My friend’s advice?

Go Live.