Are you being a good friend? Do you have friends that you appreciate? Would you like to improve your friendships? Is your loving partner your best friend?
As a Marriage, Family Therapist for 27 years, I helped many people resolve issues with their friends and create healthier friendships. The same principles apply to romantic relationships. Ideally, your loving partner is your best friend.
The following are some mistakes friends make and how to improve the relationship.
1) Mistake: Try to fix the person. Solution: Ask the person if they want your help and the kind of assistance they wish to have. Some examples are to just listen, or tell them what you would do in their situation.
2) Mistake: Be impatient. Solution: Be patient. We all appreciate when others are patient with us.
3) Mistake: Be unforgiving. Solution: Forgive others when they blunder. We all make mistakes.
4) Mistake: Discount or judge the other person’s feelings. Solution: Accept all their feelings and help them express them constructively.
5) Mistake: Take personally what your friend says. Solution: Understand that what people say or do is a reflection of them and not you.
6) Mistake: Be indifferent when they are upset. Solution: Comfort the other person when they are hurting by being compassionate and reassuring, listening, giving them a hug, etc.
7) Mistake: Tell people what to do. Solution: Help them solve their own problems with win-win solutions.
8) Mistake: Be jealous of their success. Solution: Be happy for them when they experience success and reach their goals.
9) Mistake: Drop them when you are romantically involved. Solution: Continue to connect with your friends even when you are in romantic relationships.
10) Mistake: Withhold your thoughts and feelings. Solution: Tell them your thoughts and feelings in a loving way. Take responsibility for them by beginning your sentences with “I feel” or “I think.”
11) Mistake: Break your agreements Solution: Keep your agreements, or inform them before that you wish to change the agreement.
12) Mistake: Do not feel worthy or deserving of the friendships. Solution: Realize that you deserve loving, supportive friends.
13) Mistake: Take them for granted. Solution: Let them know that they are important to you and you are grateful for their friendship.
14) Mistake: Expect them to help you overcome your loneliness. Solution: When you love and like yourself, you are not dependent on others to fulfill your needs.
15) Mistake: Bombard them with your problems. Solution: Ask them first if they are open to hearing a problem you are having and keep it short and to the point. Then focus on the solution.
16) Mistake: Be their leader or follower. Solution: See each other as two equally powerful people.
17) Mistake: Be too busy for friends. Solution: Set aside quality time for your nurturing, supportive friends.
18) Mistake: Try to make them just like you. Solution: Honor who they are and be aware of how you complement each other.
19) Mistake: Be disrespectful and hurtful. Solution: Respect them and be kind.
20) Mistake: Be willing to take abuse. Solution: Love yourself enough to remove yourself from abusive relationships.
21) Mistake: Expect them to be your therapist. Solution: If you need professional help, seek a therapist.