Today begins a new year. I’m suggesting, if you’re one who makes resolutions, to put some thought into who you choose to build new friendships and relationships with.
The list below are things I think will help you have healthier interactions with whomever you allow in your inner circle.
Things to be aware of when building new friendships or relationships:
- Thinking you know everything about someone. You may meet someone and think you like them. Keep in mind, you may have only known this person for a few weeks or maybe a couple months. There’s still much to learn. Stay open to finding out how this person is in daily life and not give excuses or make allowances for things that don’t seem right to you. Be mindful that even a good person may not be a good fit for you. Be okay with letting them go so you’ll be available to meet someone who is compatible with you.
- Expecting someone to know ALL of who you are. Not taking into account we change over time and we may act differently to various situations and circumstances. For example, you may be focused at work on projects and deadlines, and carefree and spontaneous with your friends. If a new person in your life sees you intently working on something, they may think differently of you if they’ve always seen you carefree. They may think you’re ignoring them or have some other types of negative thoughts.
- Someone who knows all the answers, which is delusional because no one knows everything. This person has an answer for everything and ignores any idea that contradicts their own.
- Someone who insists on telling you why you did something versus listening to your explanation. This person thinks they know you better than you know yourself. They have an idea in their mind of how you are and anything contrary to that is, in their mind, invalid.
- Someone who’s critical of your behavior while not holding themselves accountable for their own. They see your actions as wrong and all of their actions as right. They genuinely believe they can’t do anything wrong and may become upset if you attempt to explain why something they said or did bothers you.
- Someone who underestimates the importance of open and honest communication. This person prefers to keep their life and thoughts hidden even when you ask about certain things. They may not understand why it’s important to you to know certain things about them even after you explain it to them.
- Someone who is easily offended by your behaviors. It shows they don’t understand your actions or refuses to accept your reasoning. For example, a guy I met out for a date gave me flowers. I thanked him and put them in the chair next to me. I told him I have horrible allergies and flowers were one of my triggers. The next week when he came over to pick me up for a date, he looked around my kitchen and asked why I threw away the flowers. I told him I didn’t throw them away and had placed them on my balcony. He looked, saw them out there, and said “I knew you didn’t like them.” I reminded him that I’d thanked him for them and told him I liked them. I also reminded him that flowers triggered my allergies. He replied that I could have kept at least one in the kitchen. I asked him why would I do that if I knew it’d have an adverse effect on me. Clearly, he didn’t care about my health nor did he listen to my reasoning. He chose to be offended that I didn’t keep his flowers inside and to believe that I didn’t like them.
Things to appreciate when building new friendships or relationships:
- Being excited to learn new things about a person, their thought process, and their actions in various situations.
- Being excited for someone to learn, and continue to learn, new things about you. Explain why you do certain things certain ways and let them see you live it out.
- Acknowledging that neither of you knows everything, allow situations to be learning experiences.
- Listening to each other’s explanations and willingly accept each other’s viewpoints.
- Not being easily offended, but desiring to understand courses of actions.
- Holding yourself, and themselves, accountable for actions and words. Acknowledging faults and resolving to reduce reoccurrences.
This new year, let’s view friendships and relationships in a new way. Think about what types you desire and work on being open to receiving them. It goes both ways, be the person you’d want to meet, be around, learn more about, and grow with.
What are some things you’ve learned to be watchful for when building new friendships/relationships?
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