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Our Listening Relationship with Friends

Friendships


We can all think of at least one person in our lives or someone who has been in our life that supports how we feel and think, someone who shows compassion. For myself, it was someone I had in my life at one point. She was my best friend, something like a sister. Instead of texting, we would write letters to each other because we thought it was more sentimental that way, and we wanted to keep it old school. Because that's how we met, through a car club representing classic cars and a culture representing a lifestyle or a place our families came from. 


What I enjoyed most about talking to this person was her openness about the things I was afraid people would judge me for taking an interest in. When talking with her, it felt as if I had nothing to be afraid of, that I could be vulnerable at its finest. 


I've also had great relationships, great laughs, and even funnier memories with the wrong friends. But long and behold, with the wrong friends miscommunication happens more often than I thought. I learned at a young age that everything is a “season and time,” like most friendships.


Communication


Every day, we spend 80% listening and 20% talking. Unfortunately, I flipped the script, I was doing 80% talking and 20% listening. But to actively listen I needed to ask questions, I was still talking. So, I took the responsibility to figure out my wrongs, and figure out how to communicate efficiently with my friends. 


Since then, I’ve added more talking throughout my day, whether it's a simple hello to my neighbor while I get the mail or reading out loud to myself. Either way, I wanted to practice communication. I was also practicing self-monetary, staying aware of ourselves and what we let into our minds and out of our mouths.


A lot of times we are hard on ourselves when it comes to the simplest things going out of order instead of how it was planned out in our head. Daily affirmations are a great way to bring positivity to our minds and bodies. Letting out positivity not only for yourself, but to share it with others, maybe a friend. You never know what someone else might be going through until you start talking to them. It might brighten their day.


Talking plays a key role in any friendship, and it can describe the relationship between one another. When we talk to others we become picky, mainly because we want to know that they will listen with empath or carefulness, and they will actively listen. Rather than a person listening in one ear and out of the other.


When I am with one of my good friends, I share almost everything with them. In many ways, I can easily find myself letting go because of the comfort my friend brings me, the calmness in their words. I don’t feel judged, or feel like I should stop talking or talking too much. In all fairness, our friendship was never this open when we were kids. As we got older, we started asking each other questions and getting to know more about each other. Taking the time to understand each other's lives and where we are at mentally.


I was lucky enough to grow up with these current friends. Did we always talk? No. But did we keep in contact? Yes. Throughout our eighteen years of friendship, there were many pauses. We didn’t stay in contact the entire time. Pauses were something common in most of my friendships at a young age, and sometimes the relationships wouldn’t return. As this friendship was lucky enough to survive throughout the years, we kept reconnecting and we kept asking each other questions about our lives. 


Asking Questions and Making a Decision


I wouldn’t start conversations with the same old bland questions. If I care about you genuinely, I'm going to tell you how much I’ve missed your presence. I make sure I let my friends know that I think about how they are doing without having to ask them. As we switch off letting each other get our words out, I start to ask how they are holding up mentally, whether it be good, bad, or neutral.


I've learned to be honest in friendships because having someone close to me in my life is important. I take it more seriously now than I did before. After losing the friendship of what I knew was my soul sister, I knew I had to change the way I would converse with my friends that I still had. I noticed that when I was talking to my old friend, she would always ask me questions about what the topic was and how I felt. Back then I didn’t notice I wasn’t doing the same for her. I was so focused on my own things that I didn’t notice that she was observing our friendship. She was listening more than I was and I wasn’t even noticing my lack of attention. 


I noticed she would talk less but didn't understand why. There were certain things I should have noticed, but I was too self-centered. Eventually, it was a mutual agreement to end the friendship. It was my first time experiencing heartbreak over a friendship. 


After some time, I realized where I went wrong in my relationship with this friend and took it upon myself to share what I had learned. I practice keeping eye contact to show they have my undivided attention. Another way I learned to actively listen is to put my electronics away (specifically my phone) and interact with them with emotions.


Always be myself. As I've stated before, not everyone is going to be interested in me, and that's ok. I’ve learned that in any relationship, reciprocating actions and being involved shows my friends I am actively in their lives and care about them. I learned to be empathetic and watch my language in case it may be offensive. 


I have learned to be an active listener, and interact more when someone is talking to me. Being supportive and active instead of glazing over and daydreaming or thinking about the next thing to talk about when the first topic is still going on.


The way we communicate with each other, specifically our friends and family, takes real effort. It is not lollygagging with a stranger you'll never see twice in your life. It's someone else's words, their feelings that they are sharing. Being an active listener is not hard when we genuinely care for someone, and if you call someone your friend, then make them feel like that, a friend. Talk to them differently than how you would talk to the store clerk or someone who is sweet-talking you to buy their product.


I learned that caring for someone in a friendship is similar to caring for someone you are in a romantic relationship with. Checking in on them, making sure they make it home okay, advising them on not making mistakes or the same mistakes as before. Caring for their heart and situations without being judgmental and just being there for them wholeheartedly, even if nothing is being said, just being there for them.


It may not always be easy finding a friend or someone to talk to (trust me, I know from experience), but when it's there, the most important thing I learned was to always be myself, not everyone needs to like me, just me and that's enough. Another important lesson is to always listen with an open mind and open arms.




About the Author

 Raquel Chavarria is a blog/newsletter writer intern with the Love Yourself Foundation. She is all about her family. She loves to go on hikes and take her little family to the park. Raquel loves to find new restaurants to eat and try new flavors. She also loves to read, for fun and for business. Her goal is to work for a book publishing company to be part of the process of helping people escape reality for a few moments and get lost in the words between the pages of a book.


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