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We live in a society that assumes that romantic relationships are more important than friendships. There is nothing further from the truth.
We all want love-filled lives, a sense of belonging, and meaningful connections. Unfortunately, most of us have been indoctrinated to expect that this “one special person” should fill all of our needs for intimacy. In practice, this often leads to disaster and heartbreak.
Dating and romantic relationships are part of an ecosystem of human connection. The quality of the whole predicts the quality of the parts, just like in a natural ecosystem. The more vibrant your friends network, the better your romantic relationships will become.
Because meaningful and abundant friendships help us build a more resilient life and nervous system. Our friendships keep us in a state of connection, which deepens our capacity for emotional intimacy and trust—the basis of a healthy intimate partnership, body, and spirit. Expanding our friendship networks often leads to new intimate connections with like-minded folks who share our interests. Having a rich social life makes us less desperate, more magnetic, and more interesting to our love interests. It’s a win-win!
So, how do we create meaningful, soul-nourishing friendships?
Here’s my personal “recipe” for making a friend:
>> Know and love yourself as much as you can—become friends with yourself!
>> Pick a person and become insatiably curious about them—ask them about their inner world, observe them, learn about what they care about.
>> Put yourself in their shoes—practice empathy and compassion, especially when you are triggered by something they said or did. Assume their best intentions.
>> Be generous with your heart. Kindness is not a limited resource: the more you give, the more you get! Give them all the love you can muster.
>> Be receptive to who they are and release expectations that they should change. This doesn’t mean you can’t have healthy boundaries and standards (you should definitely have those), but at an emotional level, you must make peace with where they’re at.
I have seen this work in my own life and in the lives of countless coaching clients. I encourage you to use it, share it, and let me know how this evolves for you.