Healthy Communication – Friends
You may have heard married couples say, “Oh, the key to any relationship is communication.”While this is true, it sounds pretty general. Yes, every relationship needs healthy, strong communication, but communication isn’t necessarily the first thing we think about when it comes to friendships. By practicing good, practical communication, you practice creating beneficial relationships. Here are some ways to implement strong and healthy communication in your friendships.
Value your friendships.
You need to value your friendships. This seems obvious, but many friendships fade away due to lack of appreciation and communication. There are some friendships in your life that you can go months without talking and when you catch up, it’s like nothing changed. However, to reach this point, you have to lay a foundation of knowledge that you both truly value the other person. Ways to build this foundation can include the following:
- Spend time together outside of school, social media and texting by investing in regular interaction and conversation.
- Listen to your friend talk about her problems instead of skirting around an uncomfortable topic. Be real about your struggles as well and eliminate superficiality.
- Bring your friend into your life by inviting her over for dinner so she can get to know your family.
- Show your support by attending concerts, shows, games, matches or other activities in which your friend may be involved.
- Give her time, support and care.
- Dig into topics of faith by going beyond the basics.
Give and Take
Having a friend who’s there for you is a great blessing. While receiving this gift of kindness, remember to return the favor. Friendship is a give and take. You both need to be willing to meet half-way, work around the other person’s schedule, concern yourself with each other’s circumstance and attend each other’s events. If only one person in the friendship is doing all the work, that relationship will fade away and leave someone hurt.
Co-dependency in a relationship happens often and can be hard to detect. Having friends to lean on is important, but if that person makes you responsible for carrying her pain, then it’s not healthy. Set up healthy boundaries for friends who tend to rely on you too much. You don’t have to ignore your friend or even tell her that you’re setting up boundaries. A few ways to do this are to set up a time for yourself to respond to your friend’s texts, don’t over-share about your life, pray for peace and guidance for her and designate specific times to hang out. Stick to your plan so your friend doesn’t overwhelm or take advantage of you. Practicing boundaries will keep you emotionally and mentally healthy while maintaining a friendship.
There are people out there who will take advantage of any kindness shown towards them. Manipulation is a form of communication and can come in the form of emotional, physical or mental. Manipulative people can convince you to think like them by making you feel bad about yourself. These people are harmful and if you’re in a manipulative relationship, reach out to a youth leader or teacher to give you advice on how to end that relationship. Friends give and take, share time and memories together and trust one another to be there in hard times. An unhealthy friendship lacks involvement, care and affirmation.
Friends should challenge one another but also encourage each other. We would love to hear about your friendships! Tweet to us @niNeMag, message us on Facebook or share an example of a strong friendship in your life with us via email.
There are many examples of healthy friendships in the Bible.
David and Jonathan
Jesus and Lazarus
Jesus and His Disciples
1 Samuel 18 & 20
John 15: 12-15