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If Your Friends Have Lived With All Your Best Stories, Never Let Them Go

If Your Friends Have Lived With All Your Best Stories, Never Let Them Go

True friends are some of life’s treasures. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that there will always be one person we can count on, no matter what. Our closest friends know everything about our lives, including the best stories. Why? Because they have shared all of those moments with us.

Sometimes, however, our friendships grow apart as we get older. Life gets complicated and we run out of time for staying in touch. Losing our friends over time is often a harsh fact of life, but it doesn’t have to be. You should try to hold on to your best friends, to the ones who know all your stories. You have shared so much together, you never want to miss out on that kind of relationship. These are the people who know the real you.

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“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

Truer words have never been spoken. Think about you and your closest friend. The two of you know all about each other, every embarrassing detail and every last weakness. And despite this, or maybe because of it, you still love each other.

In fact, the two of you know each other so well that you have your own secret language. This is actually pretty common. As best friends, you have spent years building your relationship and it shows in your communication with each other. All of your inside jokes and references to the past can actually make it difficult for outsiders to understand you and participate in the conversation. Sharing a secret form of communication is what will make your friendship last through all of life’s changes.[1]

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“Many people will walk in and out of your life but only true friends leave footprints in your heart.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

By the time you reach adulthood and become a woman, you’ll have all kinds of opportunities to meet new people. And a lot of those new people will become your friends. You’ll meet up for drinks after work, you’ll get together with other women your age for brunch, and you’ll share popcorn at the movies.

But the brutal truth is, sharing a few experiences together does not make you best friends. These people will come and go throughout your adulthood, so don’t be so quick to call them your best friends. As Amy Chan says, “You don’t know someone until you’ve experienced enough of life’s ups and downs with them.”[2] Your best friends are the ones you’ve shared your life with. Those are the people that you want to stay around for the future.

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“Friends are the family you choose.” ~ Jess C. Scott

You are stuck with your family. You don’t get to choose your parents or your siblings and, if you have them, you don’t get to choose your children. But you do get to choose your friends. Friendships are special relationships that can bring us happiness when we need it most, but as we approach adulthood, we tend to place more priority on our family and romantic partners, with our friendships taking a back burner.

But don’t forget about those friends. Make sure they always have a special place in your heart and that you make some effort to keep in touch and show you care, no matter how crazy your schedule gets. Choosing to have a personal relationship with our friends is the very thing that makes friendship so flexible and unique.[3] This is why close friendships are able to withstand the test of time, even as they take less priority through adulthood.

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Your best friends are some of the most important relationships you’ll have in life. Never let go of the ones who know all your stories and have shared all of your favorite memories. You might lose touch now, but when you’re older, you’ll look to them for comfort and happiness once again.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pexels.com

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Amber Pariona

EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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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

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