Growing up, I was always someone who cared more about what everyone else thought of me than what I thought of myself. Finding my identity and passion took me years because I was always looking through someone else’s glasses. And finding true friendships took me even longer because I always kept things only a couple levels deep. The idea of letting someone in and having meaningful friendships sounded wonderful. But the reality of it actually happening took much longer.
I’ve had a lot of very intentional, amazing conversations with friends lately. Those meaningful friendships I’ve been dreaming of are slowly becoming a reality. Some of that I think comes with age. However, I also think there are a few things we can do to make it happen in our own lives. So today I want to share a few tips for how to create more meaningful friendships in your life. If you want to build your ride or die group, it’s time to go deep. And I hope these tips will help you build a community you can really do life with.
Focus On Quality Over Quantity
Over the years, I’ve found that there’s only so much energy I have to give. So I can either have 20 semi-decent friendships or I can have 8-10 in my tribe. Which do you want to choose?
Everyone says this but I think it’s just one of those things that has to click for you. In the season I’m in right now, I’ve learned just how important my friends are in my life. To grow and accomplish my dreams, I need the people who are going to speak life into me. I want those who will pray over me with a moments notice, that I don’t hesitate to call and that I feel good when I spend time around them.
Have I ditched the other 10 friends in my life to focus on the other half? Not at all. But I prioritize them. Instead of playing whack a mole trying to keep up with everyone’s lives, I can show up as my best self and give my all to the handful. It might seem scary at first. You don’t have to breakup with anyone. However, I challenge you to look at those who are a positive influence in your life and invest in those friends. I promise when you start, you won’t want to stop.
Learn Their Love Language
I go back to love languages* with my friends all the time. And I do mean all the time. I know they’re reading this and laughing because it’s so true. Knowing your love language and your friend’s love language can make the foundation of your meaningful friendships even stronger. When you know how to communicate in a way that resonates with them, you connect on a deeper level.
For example, my love languages are words of affirmation and acts of service. One of my best friend’s giving language is gifts. She loves to buy meaningful presents for people no matter the occasion. Now personally, I’m terrible at receiving gifts. Write me a letter and we’re golden. It doesn’t cost much but it hits my love language on the target. But because I know that her love language is gifts, I can appreciate the present and show my appreciation more. If you want to communicate better or have more meaningful friendships/relationships, start learning love languages.
BE INTENTIONAL & PRESENT
I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that multi-tasking does me more harm that good. I can never truly focus on more than one thing at a time. So when I’m with friends, I make it a point to be intentional. If I need to check my phone, I’ll find a way to politely pause the conversation so that I don’t miss whatever they are saying. Or if I’m in a group, I’ll step away.
If you want to have more meaningful friendships, you have to start showing up for them. Make it a point to listen more often than you speak. Ask questions. Go deeper into topics. These great friendships don’t just happen. So if you want them in your life, you’re going to have to be intentional about making it happen. And trying to answer texts, check twitter or post on instagram while your bestie is pouring out her heart isn’t it.
ACCEPT THAT NOT EVERYONE WILL BE YOUR PEOPLE
For me, this one goes in hand with the tip that follows. But if you want to have more meaningful friendships, you have to accept that not everyone is going to be your person. I always joke about the square peg/round hole concept. Not everyone you meet is going to fit or is meant to be a critical part of your life. When you try to put a square peg into a round hole, it’s not going to work.
It’s okay that not every person is your person. Because those that are your people are beautiful and wonderful. One of those meaningful friendships will be worth more than 10 square pegs. But you have to start accepting this and letting go of trying to make them all fit.
STOP TREATING EVERYONE ELSE’S OPINION AS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR OWN
Drawing this particular boundary in my life has been one of the best and most important decisions I’ve ever made. Because you’ll never be happy in any friendship or relationship until you learn to stop valuing everyone else’s opinion over your own. You’re allowed to change. You’re allowed to grow. And you need people in your life who will call you on your crap and keep you in check. But you also need to be able to stand your ground and fight for what you believe in.
I am the best version of myself in my meaningful friendships because I have boundaries. I can have a conversation and encourage those around me because I’m not threatened by their success or victory. And at the end of the day, I know that it’s up to me to create my best life. My validation doesn’t come from my best friends. They support me. They encourage me. But they aren’t a crutch in my life that I’m draining to make myself feel better.
It’s a partnership that means helping and respecting each other. While I trust and value their opinions, I don’t find that it makes or breaks my decision. Wise counsel is there to be helpful not to cripple you. Stop treating everyone else’s opinion as more important than your own. Otherwise you’ll end up with batteries you drain rather than people you do life with.
I know today’s post comes with some tough love. But my friends will tell you, I am that friend. I want the best for you. I want you to have meaningful friendships and your ride or die tribe. However, I know that getting there doesn’t just happen. If you want to change the game, you’ve got to change the play. Take the time to focus in and do the work. And I know you can build amazing friendships. Until next time. Xoxo, Savvy
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