This is Part 4 in a 4-part series about Women’s Friendships by Sheree Franklin
It may sound cliche, but there is nothing truer: the most important type of friendship women need is one with themselves. Being our own best friend is necessary for our happiness and to enhance all the other friendships and relationships in our lives.
Be Your Own Best Friend
One of the first homework assignments I give my clients is to ask them to monitor their thoughts for 2 days. Being aware of what we say to ourselves is instrumental in our relationship with ourselves. It is all too common for a woman to tell herself she is not pretty enough, too fat, always does everything wrong, looks bad in the clothes she has on and even that she is not wise in choosing friends. If there is one major theme that comes through in the 300 female clients I have seen, it is that we must learn to love ourselves. Loving ourselves helps to round out the rough edges when we do screw up or when a friendship ends through no fault of our own.
To love yourself AND nurture the friendships you have with others, follow these guidelines:
- Keep your word (to yourself and others) – One of the main things many of my female client’s mention when a friendship ends is that one of the primary reasons was due to violation of their trust.
- Stop Being Critical (of yourself and others) – There is no question that women are hard themselves … and often on each other. In less then 3 minutes, a woman has often completely dissected and analyzed another female’s hair and clothes. I have a dear friend who is fashionista, and I jokingly tell her when I leave the room, “Please do not talk about me.”
- Vet the candidate – Before you open your heart and soul to a new friend, give yourself a chance to test the relationship. Share an experience or concerns that you have and wait to see how this person responds and, more importantly, whether they share the information with anyone else.
- End a friendship with class – A woman who is rejected by a friend often experiences feelings and emotions that are similar to a romantic relationship break-up. If you are the person who has been dumped, try to find out what caused the rift. Your former friend may not be willing to tell you, and if that is the case, maintain your self-esteem by not continuing to call or text. And if the two of you are still connected through your other friends, do yourself a favor and do not attempt to bring others into your rift by asking them to take sides. As much as it hurts, remember we all have free will, and this gives us the right to choose who want to let into our lives. If you and your former friend travel in the same circles, when you see each other give the person a cordial greeting and keep it moving.
- Give as good as you get – A number of my female clients talk about feeling burned out when a friend is constantly involved in a crisis or emergency on a daily basis. Make sure you balance your friendships and, if the need arises for serious discussion over a prolonged problem or issue of yours, consider seeing a counselor or therapist (or, if it’s your friend who has an issue, suggest they seek counseling).
- Pay attention to your intuition – Many of my female clients have shared that they knew ahead of time that something was amiss in their friendships before anything happened and they chose to ignore it hoping it would go away, either because they had guilt attached to the situation or they did not like to deal with conflict.
- Stay in Your Lane – It is common for women to want to protect their friends who are in dysfunctional relationships. Be careful what you say about your buddy’s husband or partner. People have a funny way of getting back together again, and it is not unusual for them to share the things you have said to the other person.
- Forgive yourself – There is not a person alive who has not made mistakes in relationships. Be sure to apologize for anything that caused a friendship to end. And if you are still deeply hurt after six months, you might want to consider talking to a counselor or therapist. Once you have cleared up the past, the best thing you can do is to forgive yourself. Research shows that when we relive painful experiences over and over again, we experience the same chemical reactions to the stress as when the the event first occurred. Learning to make up with yourself goes a long way to help you heal, stay healthy and handle the hellos and good-byes we all inevitably face in our lives.
Intuitive Life Strategist Sheree Franklin helps others find the courage to release their life challenges in order to live in alignment with their true self. She is the author of Intuition: The Hidden Asset Everyone Should Learn to Use. To learn more about Franklin’s book go to www.amzn.to/1UxlWLG. Sheree is a practitioner at Holistic Health Practice at One East Superior, in Chicago. Her practice includes one-to-one coaching as well as corporate and organizational workshops and speeches. For more information go to www.shereefranklin.com or call 312-664-8376.