It may seem obvious, or not so obvious to some, a friend or lover who challenges you is likely much better for you than one who always agrees with you or tells you you’re right.
You complement each other.
Their strengths and your strengths will likely be different and will therefore complement each other. Are you great at organizing and planning, but suck at pulling the actual trigger on projects or big decisions? A friend or partner who isn’t as wobbly about taking command will inspire you to push forward, trust your gut and make decisions you might otherwise waffle on for months or years (or god forbid-a lifetime!). And you can help them by being an organized planner, when they know exactly what they want to do and are ready to do it, but could use a little more research, or a better thought out plan.
For example, you might be the type of person who wants desperately to do something else with your life, but feels obligated to stick with the profession you have because you went to school forever and racked up student debt. You feel that you should be ‘grateful’ to have a steady paycheck. You may have researched a hundred programs that you’d like to take to attempt the new career change, but you never pulled the trigger on starting any of them. If you have a friend or partner who wants the best for you and isn’t afraid to be honest with you, they will encourage you to pursue your dreams. You may make a move sooner than you would have without them.
They stimulate our growth.
People don’t learn and grow by surrounding themselves with those identical to them who parrot their opinions, beliefs, likes, and dislikes and buffering themselves to the outside world. People learn and grow when they are stimulated or caused to stop and question things or to stand up for their own beliefs in the face of differing opinions.
When we have to explain why we believe what we believe or want what we want, it forces us to face why (or if) we truly do believe or want what we tell ourselves we do. Often, when questioned these things over time, we find we don’t feel as strongly about these things as we thought). Yet, if left unquestioned, we tend to cling to old beliefs or ideals for no other reason than it’s what we’ve always known.
You get honest feedback even if you don’t like to hear it.
They’ll give you honest feedback or well meaning advice when you are making stupid decisions or can’t see things clearly for whatever reason (post-lust, heartbreak, or tragedy) instead of letting you barrel ahead to make decisions you will later regret.
Like when you maybe texted a friend telling her how much you wanted to buy that oh-my-god gorgeous $400 dress even though you were broke, asking her if you should buy it. She knew you were trying to save up to pay off your school loans and that you shouldn’t be splurging now, but she still told you ‘sure you go girl! you deserve it!’ The end result -you regretted the purchase. Maybe you’ve had done it anyways, but you might not have made such an impulsive decision had it not been condoned and supported by your FF (False Friend aka enabler!)
There is a limit of course to how much of the time it’s cool for someone to question, argue/disagree with, or throw challenges at you. If someone is simply a difficult, argumentative person who tries to prove you wrong in a mean spirited ‘I’m right and you’re wrong’ way, that’s not a recipe for a good friendship or happy relationship. But, as long as they’re doing so with good intentions, or because you are important to them and they don’t want to lie to you or let you do things (or not do things) you’ll regret doing (or not doing) later, it’s healthy.
Whether you listen to them or not, you know that you can trust this kind of person to be honest and you’ll undoubtedly learn new ways of doing or looking at things thanks to them. And vice versa.
Are you a friend like this? Do you have a friend/friends like this? Share this with someone who challenges you or who you challenge.
Featured photo credit: Matthew Wiebe via unsplash.com