Ending Friendship

Top 10 Most Popular Friendship Articles of 2013

For all of you who joined us half-way through the year, missed a post here-or-there, or just want to re-read some of the goodies to see if they speak to you where you are now,  here are the most read, popular blog posts from the last year: 1.   Is "Get Rid of Negative People in My Life" Good Advice?

This post beat out the second place by 3 times!  Fortunately, it seems we are feeling a little conflicted with how much we keep hearing that we need to surround ourselves only with positive people.

2. How To Respond to a Friend in Crisis

The diagram in this post has served me over the year as such an incredibly helpful visual-aid for understanding how to help those in crisis without putting them in the place of having to comfort us, even though they're pain undoubtedly impacts us.

3.  Five Questions to Ask Before Ending a Friendship

If we're starting to entertain the idea of our friend being toxic or our friendships with someone feeling unhealthy, it's often because we haven't yet articulated our expectations and needs.  This post provides a thoughtful approach for making sure we've done our part to contribute to the possibility of a healthy relationship before ending it.

4.  Making New Friends in a New City

Christy Mims wrote this guest post about moving to a new city and having to start all over as she made new friends.  Most of us know that experience!  She shares candidly her feelings and the actions she took to develop the friendships that matter to her.

5.  What Do I Do With My Toxic Friend?

The concept I share in this post could save many a friendship from ending!  It's super important to clarify the 3 different entities in every relationship: her, me, and us; and step back to see if we can shift the friendship by focusing on the 2 entities we actually have some control over.

6.  Friendship Break-Ups 4: Letting Go or Holding On

Most of our friendships will end with us "drifting" apart from each other as life circumstances change.  This post helps ensure that we're not a victim to that process, but rather being women who choose to courageously and intentionally make choices about which friendships to be at peace with letting go, and which ones to invest the energy needed to survive the transition.

7.  This Friendship Is Going Negative: What Do I Do?

In this post I offer up two different frameworks for helping assess our friendships:  the 5 Circles of Connectedness and the definition of friendship.  Both tools can help us articulate what is wrong in the friendship, and based on what type of friends she is, can help us decide what approach might best serve our friendship.

8.  Reflections on My Katie Couric Interview

A highlight in 2013 was definitely being invited to appear on Katie Couric's afternoon talk show.  While filming it, I just kept thinking about all these comments I wanted to make as I listened to Katie and the other guests talk about their friendships.  But since they didn't ask me to comment on everyone else... I share those thoughts on my blog instead.  :)

9. Christmas Card Conundrums: Send They? Why?  How Many? To Whom?

We're past the season now for sending out our annual holiday cards, but bookmark this one for next December!  We're all trying to find that sweet spot between letting friends know we're thinking of them while not adding to our own exhaustion, guilt, or stress.

10.  Many Introverts are "Coming Out"

Reflecting back over an interview I did with Sophia Dembling, author of "The Introvert's Way," I am encouraged with all the press, validation, and visibility that introverts are getting.  We must keep seeking to understand how we (and our friends) are wired energetically.

** And I always pick out a bonus post to add to the list-- a post that may not have made the top ten, but that I personally think is important.  This one actually may have been one of the most "liked" post on Facebook and I think contains helpful sample scripts for learning How to Ask for What You Need in Your Relationships.

 

Want more popular articles?

Top Ten Most Popular Friendship Articles of 2012

Top Ten Most Popular Friendship Articles of 2011

Healthy Friendship: How to Be the Best Friend Possible

Note from Shasta: For Friendship Month this September I’ve invited some women to guest blog for me, adding their voices and experiences to our journey.  Today I'm hosting two posts: one from a therapist highlighting four qualities of emotionally safe friendships, and the other from someone who has never written a blog but was willing to share how she's learned this in her own life. Thanks to both Lisa Brookes Kift and Kelly Cape! _____________________________

What is Emotional Safety?

by Lisa Brookes Kift

Emotional safety is the level of comfort two people feel between each other – and though I’ve written much about how couples can benefit from this, let’s take a look at how this translates to friendship and ways you can be the best friend possible.

Because emotional and relationship health are so intertwined it’s important to take stock of not only how you behave with your friends but how you feel around them.  Do you support and lift each other up?

Not everyone is clear in their understanding of what qualities make up a healthy, nurturing, supportive friendship.  This lack of clarity may be the result of never being modeled this type of relationship.  Whatever the case, it’s never too late to take stock of the people in your life – and how they experience you as well.

Emotionally safe friendships have some things in common.  These friends typically:

  • Listen well and attempt to understand where the other is coming from – rather than dismiss, appear disinterested or shift the topic back to them.
  • Offer validation and empathy when appropriate – rather than behave without compassion when sensitivity is required.
  • Respect each other and are supportive - rather than be competitive and undermining.
  • Trust each other and feel safe – rather than be unsure of whether the other is there only when it suits them.

Human beings are relational.  We are born seeking secure attachment with our primary caregivers and we continue to seek emotional safety through-out our lives, with our partners and friends.

I am very grateful to have a group of girlfriends who I feel totally at home with.  Some go back as far as kindergarten and a few I’ve made in the last five years or so.  The friendships I put the most energy into are the ones where there is a mutual felt sense of being able to truly relax, be ourselves and know that neither of us would do anything to harm the other.  It just feels safe.

It’s like being wrapped in a fuzzy, warm blanket on a cold, winter’s day.

This is a little of what emotionally safe friendships feel like to me.  Just like intimate relationships require effort to maintain, the same goes for friendships.  You get what you give.

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT is the author of The Premarital Counseling Workbook for Couples and The Marriage Refresher Course Workbook for Couples.  She’s also the creator of The Toolbox at LisaKiftTherapy.com with tools for marriage, relationship and emotional health.  Lisa has a private practice working with individuals and couples in Larkspur, California. Twitter:@LisaKiftTherapy

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What I've Learned About Becoming Emotionally Safe

by Kelly Cape

When one friendship door closes, another opens.  But, unfortunately it has to hit you on the ass first.

I didn’t truly realize this until recently.  I’ve always hated goodbyes. And I cherish having lots of friends, especially close friends.  You know what I mean: the ones who know you in-and-out, and vice versa.

So naturally I felt reluctant to end a friendship even if I wasn’t getting anything out of it.  But because I never wanted to say goodbye, I confused myself into thinking that was because it was feeding me, even if it wasn't!  Hmm... a curious ego-driven, self-fulfilling cycle indeed. Sometimes, even as the friendships were in full swing, the connections I felt seemed forced or awkward.  Meaning that for me, I wasn’t getting exactly what I wanted in the way of a reciprocal friendship but I ignored my gut and just forged ahead making more plans for the next dinner or movie.  If these gals were spending time with me then I was getting something rewarding in return, right?

Well, it wasn’t until a fall-out with two separate friends in overlapping periods of time in my life that made me rethink what friendship meant to me and forced me to have my aha moment of discovery.  This experience took me down the necessary path of self-introspection, ultimately leading me to new enlightenment and more fulfilling friendships.  And most importantly, this included the most significant friendship of all—the one with myself.

I realized that I consciously contributed in the friendships’ demise because I felt needy (hence forcing myself even with internal alarms going off—danger, danger!) and desperate to keep these friendships at almost any cost.  In turn that fear gave off negative vibes.  Additionally, I was also unwilling to listen to my heart that told me I was putting in way more than what I was getting.

And it wasn’t just about ego.  I was keeping these friendships alive at the expense of my self-esteem and value as a person and as a friend. Which wasn’t doing service to them either because when I spent time with them, I wasn’t being fully honest or authentic.  I discovered that felt more awful than pretending I was their BFF.

After a lot of journaling, grieving and healing, I have since become not only a more grounded person, but also a more genuine and present friend, which naturally brings about positive and joyful reciprocity.  I listen to me more now and let go of forcing or acting like someone I’m not just to have friends, or to be invited to a party.

And as the Universe does so profoundly, I “coincidentally” and effortlessly have forged a wonderful new friendship that is both light-hearted and meaningful at the same time.  We are our genuine, honest selves with each other and we laugh a lot together.  My friendships of the past are gone... but never forgotten.  The lessons they taught me will live on and be carried in me with each new budding friendship.

Kelly Cape, 41-years old, lives in Campbell, CA where she consistently strives for an expansive life, including learning to follow her bliss—personally and professionally.  This is her first blog.