All relationships require regular love and attention. Just like a plant, the more your water it, tend to the soil, and give it the right amount of love and sunshine, the more it will thrive and grow. And the more fulfilling your relationships will be. Here are five ways I tend to my friendship soil.
Because Your Community Matters: How To Be An Epic Friend
1. Hold space for each other.
When your friend speaks, hold space for her to express whatever she needs to. It’s not your job to "fix" her or "diagnose" her problems—just be there, listen with both ears, and make sure she feels seen, held, and heard. Don’t interrupt and give your opinion; just hold space for her to fully express. Sometimes all we need is for someone to listen.
2. Be impeccable with keeping your word.
If you say you’ll do something, do it. If you say you’ll be somewhere, be there. The simple act of following through on your words is so powerful and helps build a strong foundation of trust and loyalty in any relationship.
3. Remember the small things.
The littlest things can make the biggest impact. Take note of the things that mean a lot to your friends but are easy to overlook or forget when life gets full. Does she have an important performance review coming up at work, or maybe she finds the month of August difficult because it's the anniversary of a loved one's death. Perhaps she’s been dealing with an ongoing health niggle that’s been getting her down. In any case, make a point of asking her how she’s feeling about it, and genuinely listen to her answer. If there’s a specific date that’s important to her, I like to pop a note in my calendar so I don’t forget. That way, I’m reminded to send her a supportive text or a bunch of flowers when it matters most.
4. Celebrate their wins.
When we lift each other up, the whole world is strengthened and filled with love! So don’t hold back in handing out meaningful compliments. Love the meal they just cooked you? Tell them. Proud of their latest blog post? Sing it, out loud. Inspired by their current fitness efforts? Shout her praises from the freaking rooftop! (By the way, if you feel awkward getting all gushy, don’t let that stop you—you can always send your thoughts via text.
5. Don't take things personally.
We’re all "full" (I choose not to use the word "busy") at times. We all have stressors in our life. We all get tired, frazzled, overwhelmed, premenstrual, and just plain cranky. So if your friend does something that upsets you, before you react, ask yourself: Is this actually personal? Could it, perhaps, be explained by a bad day? So often, the slights we perceive—a harsh word, a forgotten phone call, a late arrival—aren’t personal at all. Give your friend the benefit of the doubt, release your hurt, and let it go.
For more inspiration from Melissa, learn her thoughts on whether or not pornography is healthy for women.