Defining Friendship and Healthy Relationships in Life
I am not a guru for healthy relationships; I can only share my own experiences and thoughts on what I constitute as a healthy relationship. Writing couples isn’t as easy as it seems. There are many aspects in crafting a character profile that mimic real life people. I believe the reason why we fall in love with the many personality types of heroes and heroines is that we can relate to them so well.
How we were raised, the environment paves the way for future generations. Depending on culture, aspects of life are not discussed in the family home. What is the definition of friendship? Let me dig up Webster’s definition. “The state of being a friend; association as friends: to value a person’s friendship.”
My opinion is that friendship cultivation begins during childhood when we meet our peers. I say this because by the time we reach fourth or fifth grade, cliques have been formed, sports are starting and we’re able to find a niche we kind of fit in while transitioning. This is about the time when peer pressure starts. Hopefully we don’t have those issues but the reality is we do. I tell my kids this is the time when they really see who their friends are. Anyone who asks you to do something you know is wrong isn’t your friend. And there it begins. What will I do to fit in? Is it more important to fit in, stand firm on your own, or be a follower? If you know your friend is doing something bad do you fess up or stay quiet?
The ability to listen w/o making it about you
Those are the traits I look for in a friend. Looking for these traits in budding friendships is the beginning step toward looking for the same traits in a love interest. The difference is that in a love interest it goes much deeper. If any one of these traits are missing then the dynamics in the relationship changes to an associate. Meaning yes I know them, but I don’t like mess or how they are, so I have limited to no contact with them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Others have to be accountable for their own actions. Choosing to not be a part of that is not a negative decision.
Respect for self and self -worth, respect for authority, respect for others feelings, respect for family and friends are the sections that I break down for my family when we have discussions. We talk about how we talk to one another, tone, body language, how peers act toward them, what they don’t like. With the girls the big one is if it’s not an issue for you personally lend an ear but stay out of it to avoid drama. With my son it’s don’t let your friends say things about your sisters.
Honesty- White lies do hurt. Be honest; share your opinion in a way that’s not cruel. Speak up if you dislike what’s going on.
Caring- It’s not always about you. So listen and take the time to help problem solve.
Integrity- Birds of a feather flock together. So yeah the phrase might be wrong but if you hang with a band of thieves, you’ll be guilty by association. Example- A young teen my daughter is friends with made a bad choice. Her reaction via phone. “OMG why did you do that? That was a bad choice. This last part shocked me. “If you keep making bad choices my mama isn’t going to trust us out alone. I don’t want that to happen.”
Loyalty – Now this is sticky. It’s all fine well and good to stand by your friend but if they’re going down; do you really want to go down with them? All of the traits tie in together.
Forgiveness- Everyone makes mistakes. You can forgive a transgression but dislike it. You can forgive a mistake but make a choice on what’s best for you. Self-Worth comes into play here when faced with the dilemma of what to do. It goes back to how you view yourself and what you’ll stand for in a friendship. Was the transgression something that would end a friendship? Second chances are great but if the pattern doesn’t change the “I’m Sorry” is worthless.
After friendship come heavier relationships.
We are a product of our environments, learned behavior, and trended personal choices.
Take the above and magnify it. There are those who don’t have family and build an extended family around themselves. Sometimes it’s positive, sometimes not. When the adverse happens, we need to step up, offering support and advice to that person when they’re ready to listen. The importance of defining early friendships shows by example how we want our significant others to treat us and when to walk. Because we deserve better.