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“Here’s to the nights that turn into mornings, with the friends that turn into family.” – Author Unknown
Although my motivational posts are usually about productivity and progress, I thought a beautiful summer Monday would be the perfect time to throw in a lighter post about the beauty of friendship.
I’ve been visiting friends and family in Canada for almost three weeks now, soaking up some quality time with friends and family.
What better time than the beginning of summer to take a break from teaching and lesson planning and dive into renewing relationships?
Friends That Are Family
We all have them. The friends that turn into family, that understand us completely. Whether our personalities are the same or different, they make us feel welcome and at home. We may not se them in years – but when we do, it’s like we never left.
That cozy, warm feeling of being understood is what makes friendship beautiful. Letting friendships take their natural course and grow is one of the most exciting parts of life. Isn’t it such an exhilarating feeling to see a friend for the first time in years?
3 Tips for Understanding Others
Here are some top tips for trying to understand friends and family who may not fit your own personality type:
1. Listen to understand, not to respond.
How many times have you caught yourself thinking of the response to a question (or a comment) before the speaker has even finished their thought? Take the time to notice this the next time you’re having a friendly conversation.
Psychiatrist Judith Orloff’s article on ways to listen better has an easy-to-read list of clues to observe when watching a speaker (and why). You can really get a sense of how they are feeling, despite what they say!
Of course, friendships can’t be forced. It really pays off to try to meet new people, though! Find an activity you love, join a Meetup group or take a class – and try to find a friend. As silly and childish as it may sound, getting to know people around us really helps us gain perspective.
A lot of research (like this book by Kio Stark) shows us that people open up more to strangers than to close friends. So, use that as an opportunity to get to know someone new.
3. Ask More Questions Than You Answer
Actually, this one is surprisingly easy. If you ask more questions than you answer, you’ll quickly find that people like to talk about their lives. So a really great strategy to avoid conflict and truly understand someone is to listen. Bite your tongue, and focus on the answers to the question the speaker provides.
You may find yourself learning a lot about someone’s personality!
Making Time for Quality Time
Isn’t “quality time” such a strange phrase? You’d think all of our time should be spent wisely, but in the fast-paced, whirlwind world we live in that’s hardly the case. Time may rush past us, but we hardly even notice the direction it’s taking us.
How To Make Time for Quality Time & Lasting Friendships
Do you find yourself losing touch with people when you get super busy?
Here are a few ideas that may help you keep in touch:
- Initiate Coffee Dates (even Virtual Skype ones!) – Put these in your calendar! Make a sticky note list, put a reminder on your phone – whatever works best for you. Take the initiative to contact your friends and set up coffee catch-up dates, even if they are virtual. I “virtually” have coffee with four or five of my friends (separately) about once every one to three months. It’s really helped me keep in touch with them despite the distance.
- Don’t Make Time An Excuse – Contrary to my above statement, there have been a few friends I Skyped with earlier this year for the first time in one year, or even two years. That is too long! Clearly, I’m still working on this one myself 🙂
- Respect Schedules & Be Flexible – Remember not to get too frustrated if you have to move around catch-up times, or you have people cancel a few times. Especially in the virtual world, it’s easy to do. Remember that we’ll all busy and being flexible can help keep a friendship alive.
Well, that’s today’s short and sweet post on friendship. How do you enjoy quality time and make the best of your friendships, especially when friends are far away?
I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below 🙂
Have a lovely (and fun-filled) week!
P.S. The photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took in Vancouver, Canada this weekend.
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