Today I want to talk about reconnecting friendships by changing our thoughts. This was not the planned post of the day! This was supposed to be about intimate relationships (don’t worry, that’s still coming on Friday). I have it 80% done. But then I started journaling and came to find out some new things about myself, and thought why not share this with all of you?
This is definitely going to be a different kind of post for me and not my typical informational vomiting. I mean, this will probably sound like word vomit, just a different kind. Google SEO will not appreciate this post. But I want to be real with you all. I want you to be able to get to know me and vice versa. SO, here it is!
I think a lot about friendships (I mean I am a #ProudHufflepuff after all). And I am proud to say I am still friends with my high school and college friends as well as one from toddler life. I even found a new group of friends that I will call my pre-home-owner-college-townhouse-do-over friends. That probably only made sense to me (and them: you know who you are). Sorry, not sorry.
Here’s the point: my friends have ALWAYS been super important to me.
I remember being in college and getting so mad because people loved to tell me how much me and my friends were going to stop talking and all fall into our own separate corners of the universe or whatever. And I’m just like:
We’ve all been there, right? If not, prepare yourselves. You’re gonna hear it soon. (Also I truly am sorry for those of you who got that starting in March and missed your whole last year of High School. Truly. I hope you’re finding your own way to connect with those people).
My point, though. I was so disgusted that anyone would suggest such a thing. And to be honest, I think my 17/18 year old self would be pretty disappointed in me right now. I think she’d be so proud of how far I have come in my self-esteem and my strength. But this is one area where she would be down-right disgruntled about.
I made it past college (which everyone said was the hard part). I’ve decided that’s not true. Not for me at least. The hard part is after that. It’s the part where people get married or have babies or get a career that they focus most of their time on. It’s juggling house holds, and relationships, and self-care. It was so easy back then. For the first time in (most) of our lives we did not have to answer to parents. We didn’t have to answer to anyone but ourselves.
But as time goes on we change.
Our lives change. We have our own families. It’s real life character development. But then there’s the dark side of that. Every time a plan is made comes the inevitable:
I forgot I already had plans with so and so, I really need to get some errands done, I forgot I had an appointment for such and such.
At a certain point it begins to feel hopeless trying to get people together. This thought of “Why am I the only one trying?” or “Am I EVER going to have enough time for this?” or “It’s been so long, will it be awkward?”
Here’s the funny thing about those thoughts we have: Our perceptions determine our actions. And our friends’ perceptions determine their actions. And if we are all thinking the exact same thoughts it’s really easy to say “next week, for sure”, instead of “what’s a creative way to solve this problem?”
It turns out, I was looking at things all wrong. It felt like I was losing my friends, but it turns out, we’re just changing. Think about being with a boyfriend or girlfriend. You go through that honeymoon stage, the power struggle stage, the time to move in together part, marriage, children, empty-nesting, retirement. All relationships have change. And they all say marriage is work. People change and we have to adjust as individuals and in relationships.
Isn’t that then true about our friendships also? Sure the stages are different, but really it’s pretty similar.
So I’m changing the way I connect with my friend, by changing my thoughts. It’s time to come up with new ideas on how to connect, new ideas of how friendships look over time. It’s time to learn how to communicate again. Cause right now I feel like I’m doing this communication wise:
And I want it to be like this:
And to be honest… Just because it doesn’t look like our high school friendships doesn’t mean it’s not real. And I’ve kind of learned how my thoughts and mindset can really change the course of my life.
And of course that leaves me with two more points: my part and my goals going forward.
One thing I know absolutely to be true: I have control over me. And with power comes the need to self-analyze. Something, despite my line of work, I don’t do enough of.
I have this pressure on my shoulders, something I really have only been putting on myself. This idea that if I could only get caught up at home and at work, then I will have time to put more effort into things like hobbies, seeing people, going on a hike.
But when I think about my future me, the one who is dead. I don’t want my tombstone to be “Amanda Anderson, here lies the girl who completed everything on her never ending to-do list”.
I want it to be loving friend, mother, wife. Girl who lived her life, not girl who completed her life.
And so here are my goals going forward:
- Become curious about my friends
- Re-engage and learn how to find new and unique ways to communicate
- How can I both support them and ask for support
- Retrain my brain to recognize what’s really important (pros to covid-19?)
- And LASTLY, how can I build that sort of community on here? How can I connect with all of you and make this a safe place for us to share and grow together?
I would honestly love to hear your thoughts on all of this. If anything came up for you throughout the post, or perhaps any feed back on some creative ideas for the future goals section. How would you complete some of those goals? Does your thought process stop you from connecting with your friends? Let me know below!
If you are interested in learning more about how important our relationships really are, check out my post on Self-Care, as it goes into some more detail about it.
Hope you are all finding a way to really celebrate your friendships despite social distancing.