Friendship II: Do you speak your friend’s friend language?
In the previous article, I spoke about the 4 levels of friendships and what type of a friend is in each. I have always made the mistake of thinking that some of the people in the bottom three levels are in level one. I would start to break the walls and thrust them into my level one shit and when it’s not reciprocated, I would deadass feel like an idiot.
The problem here is that, if I think we are vibing, I’ll reach out, make conversation, and check up on you constantly. This is my way of letting you in. But overtime, I realised that this was a one-way show, and so I withdrew. I’m not a person that likes to impose. I always try to remind myself that “just because a person is nice to me doesn’t mean I have to get overly familiar”. So, I’ve learnt to keep people in their respective levels.
I was having a conversation with one of my friends about how frustrating friendships can be as a practice. About how difficult it is to have conversations about it, and how we often don’t know how to react with each other through misunderstandings and such . Then she mentioned that her major frustration is telling her other friends something that’s bothering her in her own life and how they’d immediately give advice that is not aligned with her character at all.
I found myself relating with that so much. I’ve had circumstances where I asked myself if the said friends even know me, but it’s all an internal conversation with myself, which goes back to the enabler behaviour I spoke of here.
Lately, I ask myself if any of my friends’ have a friend language? You know, like a love language? A language that speaks to their needs and wants in friendships. I’ve come up blank but fortunately for me, I am a writer, so here I decided to write my own and hope it starts conversations.
- Aptitude to learn – I have a healthy appetite for knowing and conversing about the things happening in the world around me. Not all topics will be interesting to everyone but for ones that a friend can try on, it would be highly appreciated, and I am willing to reciprocate.
- Empathy – The last thing I need is receiving unsolicited advice on a topic a friend has no knowledge of. I’d be okay with them trying to understand where I come from or fit in the circumstance rather.
- The dismissal behaviour– I hate it when I’m dismissed, interrupted or talked over. Friends should extend each other, the courtesy of waiting their turn. Listening truly is a skill. The harder we listen, the more we can understand.
- Honesty – I prefer this more than anything in the world. As I mentioned, I have chosen silence over being honest because it “keeps the peace” but truth is there’s no peace when there are things left unsaid.
- Dependability— Knowing that I have someone I can turn to if and when I need something, anything. Someone who will figure it out without any unnecessary questions and without feeling like I’m burdening them or putting them in an uncomfortable position.
- Support – Who doesn’t need support? And I mean active support, where someone shows up even if not asked at times, because that’s just what people who care for each other do.
- Respect – This is important and is a deal breaker for me. If someone doesn’t respect you, there’s no point having them in your life.
- Real talk – This is as simple as telling me I’m being an asshole, when I am being one. Because it’s important that I know where and when I am wrong. No one is perfect, certainly not me. Because of my enabler behaviour, I’ve missed chances to tell friends about their asshole behaviour and it’s usually left hanging in the air. Also, being real isn’t just about the negative but the positive as well. To say things like; “Well done.” The friend I spoke of above, recently told me she was proud of me and although, it seems small, but hearing that changed the course of my day because there’s literally no one in the world that pressures me the way that I do to myself and sometimes that can be a lot to handle. But in the pursuit of success and economic freedom one must assess their lives harshly to make necessary changes, right?
Do you know your friend’s friend language? Let me know in the comments section below.
July 22, 2020