If you were asked, “What’s the biggest challenge you face to create the friendships you really want,” what would you say?
I’m going to let you in on a secret, your biggest challenge is not time or the inability to meet new people. Your biggest challenge is you. You determine both the quantity and quality of your friendships based on who you are and how well you know who you want as a girlfriend, regardless of who’s in your circle today. Think about it. You wouldn’t consider dating or getting married without giving thought to who your mate is. Yet, even though we have close, intimate relationships with our girlfriends, we rarely give conscious thought to the kind of women they are. Instead, we choose friends by chance or duty, and with the busy lives we lead, you can’t afford to waste your friendtime on friendships based on obligation or on friendships that take more than they give.
If you’ve never stopped to ask yourself questions like, “What kind of women do I want in my life? Does my current circle of friends reflect the kind of energy I want to surround myself with?” chances are you are missing out on some great friendship opportunities, and spending too much energy on ones that don’t give you what you really want.
If you know who you want as a friend, you’re much more likely to attract that kind of person into your life. And she is much more likely to fit the life you are creating for yourself. So do yourself a favor, and take the time to get clear on who you really want to call girlfriend and why. Ask yourself the following questions using the action activities to get you crystal clear on your answers.
3 Questions For Creating Fabulous Friendships
QUESTION 1: Why do I want friends?
It seems like a no-brainer question, who doesn’t want friends. right? True, but this is a question worth answering because your response will tell you a lot about what you expect friendships to do for you. We all have different motivations, most of us just don’t know what they are.
Action: Play the Why Game. The game is simple, keep asking yourself “Why” over and over again until you get to core of your motivation. Here’s how it works: Start by asking, “Why do I want friends?” Say you respond with, “To have people to hang out with.” Then ask, “Why do I… want people to hang out with?” Answer. Then again, ask “Why…” to the answer to that question. Repeat at least 4 times. And when you get your final answer, ask “Why is this important to me?”
QUESTION 2: Who are the women I want as friends (regardless of who I am friends with now?)
Paint a picture in your heart of the women you want as friends, as if you were Picasso. Don’t think about the women in your life today. Imagine the kind of women you want to make your life even better.
Action: Do a Friendship Visualization. Close your eyes and imagine yourself connected to the energy of this fantastic group of women you want to surround yourself with. Look closely into their eyes and paint a picture in your mind of who they are. Let yourself see them. Are these women self-empowered? Compassionate? Living their dreams? Or are they friends that revel in drama? Play small? Or take more than they give? Feeling into them, see them for who they truly are:
What is important to them?
What are their gifts?
How do they live?
Why is friendship important to them?
Action: Create Your Friendship Story. After you’ve visualized these women, write a full, juicy paragraph or two describing them… a story that when you read it back to yourself, connects deeply to your heart and soul. Don’t just blurt an answer out off the cuff, or create a long list of attributes. Go beyond the surface and into the essence of who these women are. Tell their story. It’s the difference between painting a Picasso and drafting a PowerPoint presentation. After you write it out, read it out loud and commit to drawing these women into your life.
QUESTION 3: What Are Your Expectations of Your Friends?
Not all girlfriends are the same – we have different friends for different reasons. Some are closer than others… some you connect with because of work or shared interests while because you’ve known each other for years. When you understand the different levels of friendships a.k.a. your Friendship Rings, you’re empowered to ask for and get what you need from every friend. Unknown, unmet and unexpressed, expectations are one of the major causes of friendships failure.
Action: Define your expectations for each Friendship Ring. On a piece of paper, draw a set of 4 concentric circles, one for each ring. Then list your expectations for each. Your expectations should differ depending on the type of friendship.
Soul Sisters: Your closest circle. You share your lives.
You may all have different mothers but these women are your heart and soul. They’re here for you in the best and worst of times. You can expect that they will pick up the phone when you call at 2am with a broken heart; that you can share all of yourself with them – the good and the ugly – and they will love you anyway; and that you can be completely honest about your feelings, even when you’re angry, and that they will listen and work with you to create an even deeper friendship.
Good Time Gals. You have fun with these girls. You share a good time.
You chat. You laugh. You never go too deep. You can expect that they will invite you to do things with you and accept the invitations you give; that they follow through on what they say they are going to do; and that when you’re together you can share what’s going on in your life and get some good advice, but nothing too deep.
Affectionate Aficionados. You work at the same company, belong to the same club, or run in the same social circles, but that’s as far as it goes. You share common interests.
You can expect that you will have a good time when you are together; that you will share your enthusiasm for your common interest but maybe not much more; and that they add good energy to your life, not suck it away or create drama. You can also expect that when that common interests shifts, you may no longer stay friends.
The Original Class. You’ve been friends a long time. But even if you’re not really close anymore, there is still a connection. You share a common history.
You may only talk once a year, if even that, or maybe more, but it’s not the quantity of time that matters, it’s that you can always pick up the phone or email and you will get a response and still feel connected. You can expect that they will be happy to hear from you; that you will keep each other updated on your lives but probably not share the torid details; and that when you hang up the phone they will say nice things about you and not turn your conversation into the gossip of the week.
Every relationship you have in your life is a direct reflection of the honesty, awareness, love, trust and respect you have for yourself. So if it’s fabulous friendships you want, start with creating a great relationship with yourself… it’s the surest way to attract and keep fabulous women into your life.