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What Friendship Should Look Like in Your Thirties

What Friendship Should Look Like in Your Thirties

When you get to your thirties, your priorities change. Things that may have seemed important before will look silly now. When I celebrated my 30th birthday, it felt like a light bulb was suddenly switched on over my head and I realized that my life was about to change. I used to have tons of friends but I couldn’t say every single one of them was a “quality” friend. During my twenties, I didn’t think about the type of people I spent time with. But now that I’m in my mid-thirties, I’m very selective about the kind of people I want to call my friends. Now, I have fewer friends but they are the best I can ever pray for. I am very picky when it comes to new friends because at 34, I want to be committed to these friendships. Like any other type of relationship, I like to make sure my friendships will last. So what traits should you look for in a friend now that you are in your thirties, a point in your life when time is a luxury?

1. You’re alike

There has to be some similarities whether it be love of coffee, politics, literature, movies, or even people watching. There just has to be a common ground. I have a specific friend whose personality is so different from mine that other people wonder why we are friends. However, what they don’t know is that we share a mutual likeness for watching Korean dramas and gory films and then talking about it later over coffee.

likeness
    We are so alike in so many ways!

    2. You show each other mutual respect

    Every smart person knows that respect is earned and real friends respect each other. They know when they need to be quiet and give you privacy and space or when they should shake you back to your senses. My friends give me advice whether solicited or not but they respect my decision even if they don’t agree with it.

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    alone

      3. You have fun together

      True friends have fun with each other even when they are doing the stupidest or craziest things.

      fun
        Yep, we’re cool like this!

        4. You can depend on each other

        I am the type of friend who doesn’t mind getting woken up in the middle of the night when a friend is in trouble. Because I believe that true friends can depend on each other—for their time, for honest advice, for a listening ear, even for money. (But of course, you want friends you can depend on to pay you back too, right?)

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        lesbian
          She’s my part-time lesbo lover!

          5. They’re like family to you

          There is a saying that you can’t choose your family but friends are family that you choose for yourself. My true friends are like my family. I love and treat them like I would treat family members because I believe in that saying. And friends are the people I choose to be part of my family. You and your friends look out for another. So even when it is hard, you should be able to tell her that twerking doesn’t suit her!

          twerking
            No, you ain’t Miley!

            6. They accept you

            This is one of the most important quality of real friends—they accept each other for what they are or are not. They don’t judge each other for the mistakes their friends make, or their past.

            satc
              It’s ok. We already know that!

              7. They’re generous with you

              True friends share and are not afraid to do so, whether it’s with material things, knowledge, opinions, or anything. And friends bring out the generous person in you as well.

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              generosity

                8. They’re thoughtful with you

                True friends think about you, worry about you, and tell you when they’re worried.

                coffee
                  I knew coffee would make you feel better…

                  9. They share your humor (or sarcasm)

                  My real friends laugh at the same things I find funny, even if those things are mundane. I share the same type of humor and sarcasm with them. And most of the time, one look at each other makes us burst out laughing.

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                  humor
                    Or if we are in the Hunger Games!

                    10. They inspire you

                    Real friends inspire you. You see the goodness in them and it makes you want to be good too. They make you want to better yourself, your craft, your life.

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                      Featured photo credit: Bless Castorillo via facebook.com

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                      The Gentle Art of Saying No

                      The Gentle Art of Saying No

                      No!

                      It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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                      But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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                      What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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                      But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

                      1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
                      2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
                      3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
                      4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
                      5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
                      6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
                      7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
                      8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
                      9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
                      10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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