‘You bring out the best in me' or How to foster positive relationships
As a new year begins, we find ourselves filled with new goals, lists of the things we want to achieve, and a vision of the person we want to be. But what about the people we surround ourselves with?
Relationships are crucial for our well-being and personal development. They are a mirror that shows us who we want to be–and who we don’t.
A good exercise for the new year is to consider how much value we get from the people we give our time to. Make it an honest conversation with yourself and asses the people in your life, specially your nearest ones. Who brings out the best in you? Who makes you feel safe, appreciated, but also encourages your growth? Who, in turn, does not make you feel so well about yourself and doesn’t add value to your life?
Once you do this, you will have a clearer picture of the relationships or people that are positive for you and the ones that are not. Also, remember that relationships are not one-sided, which means it requires all parties involved to do their part, so assess your role too and the things you could do better.
If you want to become a better friend and, overall, foster more meaningful relationships this new year, here are three healthy practices to keep in mind:
“The greatest gift you can give someone is your time”, sounds like a fortune cookie quote, but it is undoubtedly true, so make it your mantra for 2023. If you, for example, meet a friend for a coffee, specially if it is a friend you only see once in a while, leave your phone in your pocket or bag and try to stay present. Giving someone our undivided attention is like telling them “this is your moment” and what greater token of love can there be?
WATCH YOUR TALK
Our friends are the people we confide in (and what a blessing that can be). However, there is a difference between a bit of venting and a constant pile of negativity. In other words: it is okay to unload your problems to friends from time to time, but be careful it does not turn into a habitual dynamic where one or both of you complain all the time, as this can be extremely draining and will damage the relationship.
“Everything is going to be fine”. Probably one of the most stereotypical and overused sentences, right? Yet, keep it in mind next time a friend comes to you in need of a shoulder. Why? Because often times when a friend comes to us to share what’s troubling them, we tend to compare their problems to ours or other people’s, and turn the whole thing into a whose got bigger problems competition. Yes, we all have problems and yes, yours might be bigger, but wait for your own time to unload and give that friend the space, validation, and love they deserve.
I hope you can take three main learnings from this article: 1) Asses your relationships and foster only the positive ones, 2) Be present and give your friends space to talk about themselves, and 3) Don’t over indulge in negative talk. And as a final thought, always keep in mind that, as we change, so will our relationships: some will deepen, some might end, but clinging to people who are not right for us will only cause us pain.