A Little Friendly Research Part 7 (The Finale)

Part 7. The Finale.

Wondering what this is all about? Start here.

I asked. You answered.

Question 8: Anything else that you would like to share?

[Insert name] is a great friend.

This exercise, especially questions 6 and 7, gave me pause – made me think. Thank you for that.

Yes.

Regardless of the type of relationship you have you get out what you put in.

Friendships are difficult. time and distance have a way of seeing some friendships lose their closeness. Yet many friends, who I don’t see on a regular basis because of distance, etc. can pick up where they left off immediately because the disruption of the friendship wasn’t based on wounds of differences, but just life. Others dissolve because of differences that went unresolved. Those are the hardest. Unresolved conflict is tough.

[insert name] is a great friend and I appreciate [name].

Question 9: In 10 words or less, what advice would you give to the World about friendships?

Treat a friendship like a romantic relationship and vice versa.

Friends are one the greatest gifts you will receive. They… (sorry there was a 10 word limit.)

(Just Kidding) …provide laughter as well as keep you from wandering off in the desert of life.

Be the friend you want to have.

It’s not a contest.

People always come into your life for a reason, enjoy!

Being willing to be vulnerable when you want to retreat because you are hurt or misunderstood, is well worth it. If that friend truly values you and your friendship, he or she will cover that vulnerability with grace. Your friendship can grow stronger in spite of the struggle. Way more than 10 words. Lol.

I’m breaking the rules and combining 8 and 9.

I don’t have any advice, but I will share a wish. When I think about my friendships, it occurs to me that most (if not all) of them are largely based on convenience. It’s convenient because we live near each other, or because we work together, or because we’re in class together, etc. If that convenient variable were removed, I don’t know what would happen to those relationships. Would they make the effort to maintain them? Would I? I know that feeling like a friend-when-convenient is pretty sad; I’ve felt that way, and I’m sure I’ve made others feel that way too. I wonder if this is just the way it is with the friendships we have in adulthood?

If so, my wish is that we could find a way to do better than that. I wish that friendships were a higher priority, despite all of other things competing for our time and energy. I wish we valued them more. I wish that we’d protect them, and fight for them. I wish we’d be more willing to do the work to sustain them, even when it’s not convenient. Especially then.

Ten words: Food and friendship enhance each other.

Thank you again for all of you who answered and shared this post with others. Keep sharing, keep answering, and most of all keep questioning.

What’s next? My turn.

A Little Friendly Research Part 6 (Questions 6 and 7)

Part 6.

I am a little sad that this series is coming to an end.

You see, I asked a bunch of you to weigh in on 9 questions about friends and friendship. After this post, only 2 questions remain. It feels a little like the day before the last day of vacation. You are still relaxing, sitting by the pool, but the normal world is vying for your attention. Suddenly instead of enjoying the sun on your face, you begin to think about packing, traveling, unpacking, getting back into the routine, grocery shopping, making dinner, and doing laundry. You have to work to keep the world out of your vacation for another day. I had to remind myself to enjoy this post, this day, and not worry about what the next post may bring.

If you are totally lost, start at the beginning. Think about the questions. Take out a sheet of paper and jot down your own answers, the compare them against this smattering of wisdom, openness, and advice.

They are friends.

They have friends.

Perhaps their words, answers, and ideas will help you in your own journey.

Question 6: If you could say one thing to your friends that would help explain what you need from them, what would you say?

Question 7: How many close friends would you say you have?

Just love me for me.

Four.

Confirmation that I’m being the friend that they need me to be.

15.

I need to know that you care, and I might need to be reassured sometimes.

Few. I could count them on one hand and have fingers to spare.

I don’t know what I need from my friends, other than to be friends.

6.

And please don’t give up on me.

4-5.

Honesty. I don’t want someone to tell me what I want to hear or what they think I want to hear.

5.

don’t give up on me.

4 or 5.

Trust: I need to know you have my back, will be my cheerleader and defender and think the best of me.

I have a lot of folks in my life who I love deeply. But many are just too far away or seen too seldom to consider “close” friends. So I would say right now, there are 7 people I consider close/deep friends.

Availability.

Question 8 and 9 remain.

 

A Little Friendly Research Part 5

Part 5. Over the hump. In the home stretch. Some other cliché.

Just finding this today? Try the beginning or the reason behind this little experiment.

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

But before we get to your answers, I just wanted to thank you all again. Thank you for hitting reply. You have given us a gift to share together and to learn together.

Question 5: What are YOUR best attributes as a friend?

I guess I’d say that when I develop a close friendship with someone, I consider that person to be like family (or even closer than family, depending on your family!) and I care about them so deeply that I’d do just about anything for them.

Humor.

I’m a good listener and the “fun” friend because more often than not, I’m being positive. But I can be there for my friends in any circumstance.

I try to be a good listener.

Honesty.

I’m also an honest friend in my feelings and my advice.

I try give my friends the space to be themselves.

Authenticity.

Will listen, provide guidance when asked, willing to take feedback and change if needed.

I try not to give advice that’s unasked for.

Honesty & vulnerability.

I forgive and forget quite easily. I’ve actually been told to my detriment, where other people who used to be friends took advantage of that trait.

Not Critical, provide comic relief and go with the flow.

Good questions.

Attention given to the things people enjoy and then do/give/support them.

Honesty, caring, loving and supportive.

I will be there, always. Unless, uh … I’ve gone dark because I’m afraid, as I just wrote two minutes ago. Oops.

On to the other questions.

For me, the comfort and connection gained by reading all of these replies over the past few days is like walking in a warm ocean and feeling the water and sand wash over your feet.

Keep reading. Keep friending. Keep connecting. Keep sharing.

Tell others: come on in, the water is great.

 

 

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.