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Five Friends You Should Keep In Your Life

Five Friends You Should Keep In Your Life

Growing up, your parents always asked if you made any new friends at school and anywhere you went, they usually encouraged you to form new friendships. As expected, over the years many of these relationships have fizzled but for some of us, these relationships have stood through many years and even decades. In some cases, you no longer even consider these people as friends, but they have rather become members of your family. They are a constant presence in your life and are on your emergency contact list. While the word friend can be used lightly at times, as you become an adult, you quickly realize that it is not the amount of friends you have in your life that matters, but rather the quality of friends you keep around. There are five friends that you should definitely strive to have in your life:

1. The Fun One

This is your typical “life of the party” friend. It does not necessarily mean that this friend is always at the club but it simply means that this person is the one that will always be sure to lighten your mood when you are having a hard time and always ensure that you are able to relax and enjoy life. They have a positive outlook on life and will always be able to pick up your mood when you’re going through a tough time.

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2. The Wise One

This friend is the keeper of all of your secrets and all of your troubles, insecurities, and mistakes. They are non-judgmental and are able to provide you with sound advice and also give you reassurance when you are uncertain and are in the middle of making hard decisions.

3. The Cheerleader

This one is the friend that will help you dream and will never make you feel like you are living on another planet, no matter what your goals are in life! You are going through medical school? She will be the one to stop by and check on you in the library or stop by your home and bring you a warm meal. And even if your dream is to make it into professional sports, he will willingly spend countless hours with you on the court or in the gym to help you sharpen your skills and will continue to be your loudest cheerleader through the ups and downs.

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4. The Driven One

While that friend may intimidate those who are not used to them, to you, they are a life saver on many occasions! They are the one who will help you get better grades by voluntarily staying in the library to help you study for the final. When you seem to want to settle, they are the one who will continually push you to be and do better. They will not use their intelligence to belittle you, but rather to help you and always will reach out a hand to  pull you up right alongside them.

5. The Reliable One

This friend is there through it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Whether it has been a couple of days since you’ve last spoken or a few months since you’ve last seen each other: this friend will drop everything to be by your side in your time of need. They are your first call in an emergency and you know that no matter how impossible the task, they will be there and if they are unable to be there, they will find you the necessary help.

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Sometimes you may have one friend who luckily has a combination of those traits, and that is equivalent to winning the lottery especially since true friendships are becoming a thing of the past. However, if you are fortunate enough to even have one of these types of friends, hold on to them dearly and be sure to be as great of a friend to them as they have been to you. Friendships come and go, but when you have found the right ones, they simply make going through life much easier.

Featured photo credit: Lourika Reinders via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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