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The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life

The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life

Are you aware that as you grow up, friendship is the thing that drifts away most easily? Work, vacation, relationships, family times — they’re all so important to life that it’s just hard to put friendship at a higher priority.

Have you ever been at supper at a friend’s home, you and your friends just didn’t have anything to talk about and had to force yourselves to just talk about something, like “so how have you been recently?”, or “oh the pasta is really nice…”?

This kind of awkward situation only leaves us wondering what friendship is for; but then, we also feel uncomfortable to have to declare that friendship has to be for something — how contradicting we are.

Here’s some good news for you…

Friendship does have its purpose, and having a purpose doesn’t ruin true friendship.

People come to your life for a reason. (Duh.) People do come together to become friends for some reasons though.

Alex Lickerman, the author of The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self talks about the things that draw people together as friends.

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Instead of building friendships with random people, we tend to build bonds with people who share the common interests, share common values, have gone through the same difficulties, and who support each other equally.[1]

We’re being selective about friends because not everyone can serve the purpose of being able to exchange thoughts and feelings with us.

When we get to know people, there are four things we really look for.[2]

Firstly, we want reassurance so we know we’re not alone in being a specific way.

Everyone of us has our weak spots. There’s always something that we aren’t satisfied with, or some thoughts that we’re reluctant to share with others because we’re afraid of being judged or being let down.

    We need the kind of friend who understands our thoughts and weaknesses; so we can feel comfortable to let down our guard and be comfortable with who we are.

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    We also want to have fun with people who we can be silly with.

    Life is stressful; and we’re taught to always be serious and mature at work and in life as a grown-up. Imagine yourself as an elastic band, if you kept on pulling yourself and stayed tense, you’d eventually break. That’s exactly what would happen if we didn’t get enough fun in life.

      Friends here, serve the purpose of letting you be as silly as you want and share the joy and excitement with you.

      And we need someone’s help to clarify our minds.

      We’re all imperfect people, sometimes we are confused and our minds go chaotic.

      For example, very often we are frustrated at work and not quite sure why, but after we share our confusions with friends, we somehow get things figured out and have a clearer mind to go back to work.

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        A thinking friend who gives us constructive advice and asks us probing questions can inspire us to solve our problems and get to know ourselves better.

        Finally, we network to seek collaborators to help us achieve our goals.

        We have our own dreams and goals but we are small and fragile as an individual. To get things going, we need collaborators to align their abilities and energies with ours.

          Take Emma Watson as an example, she’s an activist in feminism, and she networks to gather like-minded people who also aspire to fight for gender equality through the HeForShe campaign and the feminist book club Our Shared Shelf.

          The spiritual core reason for a friendship is help us change and grow.

          Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said,[3]

          “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.”

          This relates to the law of averages,[4] a theory that the result of anything will be the average of all outcomes.

          So if you want to grow, be successful, or simply be happy and positive; the people you spend time with matter.

          Moving on from some friendships simply means you’ve understood what real friendship is like.

          You may ask, “what about those who don’t share my ambitions or interests? And those who can’t reassure my existence? Or those who I don’t really feel comfortable to be silly with?”

          As time goes, you probably will feel difficult to stay friends with these people. Dare to let go of some people who don’t help you change and grow as a better and a happier person.

          It doesn’t mean you’ve lost hope or belief in friendship, it simply means you’ve understood what a real friendship is like.

          Move on from the friendships that you can hardly maintain. You don’t need to deny having these friends, and you can keep the memories with you. Moving on is just a way to help you get closer to true friendships that are best for you and others.

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          This article is inspired by The School of Life’s The Purpose of Friendship. Watch the full video here.

          Reference

          [1] Alex Lickerman, Psychology Today: The True Meaning Of Friendship
          [2] The School Of Life: The Purpose Of Friendship
          [3] Jim Rohn: 5 – The Law Of Averages
          [4] The Clemmer Group: Innovation and the Law of Averages

          More by this author

          Anna Chui

          Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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          Last Updated on October 14, 2020

          Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

          Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

          Today didn’t turn out as you planned, but it doesn’t mean you’re weak. It simply means that you’re human, and you’re not bad just because you had a bad day.

          “Not everyday is a good day but there is something good in every day.” -Alice Morse Earle

          It’s not the end of the world when you find yourself thinking “I had a bad day,” but it can feel like it. You may have had plans that fell apart, experiences that set you back, and interactions that only did harm.

          You may have started the day thinking you could take on it all, only to find you could hardly get out of bed. When you have a bad day, you can forget to look at the good.

          Sometimes, self-care helps us to remember why we are worth it. It helps us to recharge and reset our mindset. It helps us to know that there are still options and that the day isn’t over yet.

          Love yourself today, no matter how hard it’s been. That’s the way to find yourself amidst the hardships you have. That’s how you center yourself and regain focus and live a more meaningful life. Give yourself some credit and compassion.

          Here are 7 ways to rebound from a bad day using self-compassion as a tool. If you had a bad day, these are for you!

          1. Make a Gratitude List

          In a study on gratitude, psychologists Dr. Robert A Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough conducted an experiment where one group of people wrote out gratitude lists for ten weeks while another group wrote about irritations. The study found that the group that wrote about gratitude reported more optimistic mindsets in their lives[1].

          Overall, having a gratitude list improved well-being and made one truly grateful by counting the blessings in their lives.

          Write a list of what you are grateful for if you had a bad day. Make it as long as you like, but also remember to note why you’re grateful for each thing you write.

          What has given you the most joy? What has set you up for better days? Keep a tally of triumphs in mind, especially when you do have the bad days.

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          The day doesn’t define you, and you still have things of value that surround you. These could be material things, spiritual connections and experiences, relationships, basic needs, emotional and mental well-being, physical health, progress towards hopes and dreams, or simply being alive.

          Here are some other simple ways to practice gratitude.

          2. Write in a Journal

          Journaling affects your overall mental health, which also affects physical health and aids in the management of stress, depression, anxiety, and more[2].

          All you need is a pen and paper, or you could do an online, password-protected journal such as Penzu. The key is to get started and not pressure yourself on how polished or perfect it is. You don’t need to have prior experience to start journal writing. Just start.

          Write out everything that is bothering you for 15 minutes. This helps with rumination, processing problems, and can even aid with brainstorming solutions.

          However you approach it, you can find patterns of thinking that no longer serve you and start to transform your overall mental state. This will impact all areas of your life and is a great coping skill.

          3. Meditate

          Meditation can help you overcome negative thought patterns, worrying about the future, dwelling on the past, or struggling to overcome a bad day[3]. It shifts your mentality and helps you focus on the present or any one thing you truly want to focus on.

          Here is an example of a meditation you can do:

          Get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Rest your body, release tension, and unclench your jaw. Tighten and release each muscle group in a body scan for progressive muscle relaxation.

          Focus on your breath, taking a few deep breaths. Let your belly expand when you breathe in for diaphragmatic breathing. Empty yourself completely of air, then return to normal breathing.

          Next, focus on the idea of self-love and let it erase negative thoughts. Think about the ways you’ve been judging yourself, with the narratives coming up that your mind may create.

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          Give yourself unconditional love and release judgment. Take your time meditating on this because you matter. This is particularly important if you had a bad day.

          Check out this article for more on how to get started with a meditation practice.

          4. Do Child’s Pose

          Yoga Outlet says:

          “Child’s Pose is a simple way to calm your mind, slow your breath, and restore a feeling of peace and safety. Practicing the pose before bedtime can help to release the worries of the day. Practicing in the morning can you help transition from sleeping to waking.”[4]

          When you do Child’s Pose, it can be between difficult positions in yoga, or it can be anytime you feel you need a rest. It helps you recover from difficulties and relax the mind.

          It also has the physical health benefits of elongating your back, opening your hips, and helping with digestion[5].

          To do Child’s Pose, rest your buttocks back on your feet, knees on the floor. Elongate your body over your knees with both arms extended or tucked back, with head and neck resting on the floor[6].

          Had a bad day? Try Child's Pose.

             

            Do this pose as a gift to yourself. You are allowing yourself to heal, rest, get time for yourself, recover, and recharge. When you’ve had a bad day, it’s there waiting for you.

            5. Try Positive Self-Talk

            Engage in positive self-talk. This is essentially choosing your thoughts.

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            When you have a negative thought, such as “I can’t do this,” replace it consciously with the thought “I can do this.” Give yourself positive affirmations to help with this.

            Negative self-talk fits into four general categories: personalizing or blaming yourself, magnifying or only focusing on the negative, catastrophizing or expecting the worst to happen, and polarizing or only seeing back and white[7].

            When you stop blaming yourself for everything and start focusing on the positive, expecting things to work out, and seeing the areas of grey in life, you reverse these negative mindsets and engage in positive self-talk.

            When you speak words of kindness to yourself, your brain responds with a more positive attitude. That attitude will affect everything you do. It’s how you take care of yourself if you had a bad day.

            Check in with yourself to know when you are having negative self-talk. Are you seeing patterns? When did they start to become a problem? Are you able to turn these thoughts around?

            6. Use Coping Skills and Take a Break

            Use your coping skills. This means not letting your thoughts take control of yourself.

            You can distract yourself and escape a bit. Do things you love. You can exercise, listen to music, dance, volunteer or help someone, be in nature, or read a book.

            It isn’t about repression. It’s about redirection. You can’t stay in thoughts that are no longer working for you.

            Sometimes, it’s okay to get out of your own way. Give yourself a break from the things going on in your head. You can always come back to a problem later. This may even help you figure out the best course of action as sometimes stepping away is the only way to see the solution.

            If you had a bad day, you may not feel like addressing what went wrong. You may need a break, so take one.

            7. If a Bad Day Turns Into Bad Days

            “I believe depression is legitimate. But I also believe that if you don’t exercise, eat nutritious food, get sunlight, get enough sleep, consume positive material, surround yourself with support, then you aren’t giving yourself a fighting chance.” –Jim Carrey

            If you’ve been feeling out of control, depressed, or unstable for more than a few weeks, it’s time to call a mental health professional. This is not because you have failed in any way. It’s because you are human, and you simply need help.

            You may not be able to quickly rebound from a bad day, and that’s fine. Feel what you feel, but don’t let it consume you.

            When you talk to a professional, share the techniques that you have already tried here and whether they were helpful. They may tell you additional ideas or gain insights from your struggles of not being able to rebound from a series of bad days.

            If you’re having more than just a bad day, they will want to know. If you don’t have the answers, that’s okay, too. You just need to try these tools and figure out how you’re feeling. That’s all that’s required of you.

            Keep taking care of yourself. Any progress is progress, no matter how small. Give yourself a chance to get better by reaching out.

            Final Thoughts

            If you had a bad day, don’t let it stop you.

            Know this: It’s okay not to be okay. You have a right to feel what you feel. But there is something you can do about it.

            You can invest in yourself via self-care.

            You are not alone in this. Everyone has bad days from time to time. You just need to know that you are the positive things you tell yourself.

            More Things You Can Do If You Had a Bad Day

            Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

            Reference

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