Friendships Are The Best Ships - Part One

I want to focus on expectations. I truly believe in having expectations in all of our friendships.  I don’t think that we have the same expectations for every friend. Expectations can make or break relationships, and learning how to communicate what we need is a key to long lasting friendships.  What makes each friendship unique is individuals coming together, and finding out the work required to make that friendship function.

This work is what makes a friendship satisfying. Making sure we are aware of where we stand in a friendship is vital to creating a healthy long lasting relationship.  

We as humans are constantly changing and growing.

This growth can create a natural parting of ways or it can have a more violent and painful ending. Friendship plays one of the most important roles in our lives.  To have healthy friendships we have to show up, we have to be true to ourselves and our friends.

Over the last week I have been reaching out to friends asking them how they feel about expectations in relationships. I have had conversations with friends who are offended that their friends expect things from them. I have had girlfriends who are upset that their friends don’t show up to their events.

I have been upset with friends because they don’t understand that I can’t do it all. These are all examples of expectations being ignored, misunderstood and/or not met.  I see a lack of expectations as a shield, a way to protect yourself from getting hurt and a potential excuse to let people down.  

The whole “well I don’t expect anything from you so you have no right to expect anything from me” bit.

I usually hear this no expectations speech after a story about a friend who never shows up, is constantly late or has no disregard for others. It is okay to expect your best friend to show up to your birthday more than you expect the friend you see every once in awhile. Expecting nothing from your friends may make you believe it’s “easier” to avoid pain, but you’re just convincing yourself you don’t have the right to feel the way you do.  I think sometimes we feel we don’t have the right to ask and expect things from our friends.

I am here to tell you that you get to ask, and that expectations create a safe place to grow deeper more meaningful friendships.

We don’t always have the same expectations for all of our friends. When we understand that one friend alone can not supply all of our needs it becomes easier to adjust our expectations. I am more inclined to build relationships with people who show up, invest, reality check me, and expect me to do the same for them.  Our friendships grow or shrink depending on how we nourish them.  We adjust our expectations based on how others act.  

My friend who never shows up, I stop inviting her out.  My friend that laughs at my pain, I stop sharing my feelings with her.  My friend that makes me a priority I trust her more.  My friend that shows up when I need her, she has earned my loyalty.  

I think we also have to be aware that when we care about a friendship enough we have to be willing to be vulnerable and tell our friends what’s going on.  

As I always say you’re allowed to want what you want but you have to ask for it.  If you accept that person and the friendship the way it is then it will work.  If you’re not happy with what’s happening you’re allowed to ask for more or move on.  At the end of the day our we teach people how to treat us, whether we expect things or we don’t.

The thing about expectations is that everyone has to agree to them.  If you are constantly unhappy in your friendships there are a few things you can do.  Be introspective ask yourself what is truly bothering you about the relationship. Once you discover what the issue is ask yourself if  there is a way to fix this issue.  Fixing problems can be as easy as telling the person they hurt your feelings or as complicated as telling a best friend you can follow through on a promise.

If you don’t think there is a way to fix the issue ask yourself if you can live with the friendship the way it looks.

If you don’t think it can be fixed go to your friend anyways and express your feelings.  Our friends are worthy of the benefit of the doubt.   It is not always easy to tell your friend you can’t provide what they are asking for. Sometimes all it takes to keep your friendship alive is to communicate if you’re mutually agreeing to the expectations presented.
 
I do believe that some friendships are not meant to stick around forever. Some people are here to teach us a lesson and then vacate our lives.  However, if we love our friends we should try to make things work. You know your limits, you know what you need better than anyone else. Losing a long time friends is hard and it is important to think it through before ending the relationship.

Do whatever it is you need to do for you, because at the end of the day your friends influence so much of your life.

Burning things to the ground can be the most effective way to move on from a negative experience, but it is not the only way. 

Lastly I want to express how happy I am for my friends near and far. I am thankful for what I have learned over the years about how to have good friendships.  I am glad I have expectations and that when I communicate them my friends follow though.  

I am excited I get to learn from every person who walks into my life and stays and/or leaves.  I am  lucky to have the support of wonderful friends.  

I am encouraged by my friends willingness to ask for more from me.  I am awe struck by the friends who choose to do life with me.  

Thank you to all the people who have shaped me, taught me and grown me.  When we express ourselves we have better friendships and better lives .  When we encourage people to treat us the way we need them to our friendships get stronger.  Life is so much more fulfilling with good friends to share it with. 

Lyndsay Grace

If you want to chat about what I have talked about today, drop me a comment. Would love to hear from you.