Pick Better Friends

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LAKESHIA EKEIGWE

  • Yes . . . intelligent, professional, beautiful women, at times, allow the negativity of those who claim to be friends to create emotional chaos and confusion in their lives.

You cannot create a balance in your life, business, and relationships when you are tolerating “friends” who behave like enemies.

I believe reality TV has done a lot to confuse people about what a true friend really is. Women calling their “BFF” derogatory names, and curse words is absolutely shocking to me. Why would you refer to a friend in such a foul and unloving manner?

Merriam-Webster defines a friend as – a person who you like and enjoy being with: a person who helps or supports someone.

A true friend . . . sounds like, acts like, and feels like . . . a true friend. True friendship feels the same in every culture on every continent.

I believe true friends are loyal and loving; kind and caring and are there for you when you need them. True friends never assume the worst of you and instead assume the best. They give you the benefit of the doubt. True friends do not reveal confidences and never speak about you negatively behind your back.

Even when a true friend has to help you face a hard truth about yourself, they do so in a manner that preserves your dignity and leaves you feeling better because of it.

So, to pick better friends you need to be really clear on the following:

  • What is your personal definition of a friend?
  • What do you require of a friend?
  • What do you offer to a friend?
  • Are you a true friend?

I recently went through this exercise with my client Lisa. I have known Lisa for 15 years. She is a happily married, 48-year-old litigator. She returned from a “girl’s trip” with three women who really don’t like her and finally let her know it.

They ultimately told Lisa she had ruined their good time and the only reason she had been invited was out of pity for her. (Lisa has recently, successfully battled cancer.) Immediately thereafter, all three women unfriended and blocked Lisa on all social media. These women share a rather well-connected network, so this was quite a blow.

I asked Lisa if this trip was the first indication she had that they did not like her. She said no. She said they were never directly mean but they would say things that were insulting and hurtful. She never left them feeling better about herself and usually felt worse, pondering for hours some odd or negative thing one or the other had said to her.

These women are the adult version of Mean Girls.

But . . . the person most at fault here is Lisa.

These women have been insulting Lisa for years. And for years, she has ignored their insults. These women are beautiful, hip and fun and Lisa desired their company more than she valued the protection of her own dignity.

These women were telling Lisa everything she needed to know about who they really are yet she silenced her inner wisdom and inner voice and kept hanging on to them. She should have walked away from them. In the end, they walked away from her.

Lisa was sad, hurt, and angry but she will move forward. She has a wonderful husband and daughter, colleagues who value and respect her, and a loving extended family. But, from this point on in her life, she understands she must pick better friends.

My advice on how to do so is this:

  • Answer the questions above in detail.
  • Honour your inner wisdom and inner voice. That gut feeling you have about someone is there to protect you. When you ignore it, it simply cannot do its job. It knows when you are being insulted or encountering adult Mean Girls.
  • Do things that allow you to enjoy your own company and refuse to be in the company of people who don’t like or enjoy you. You deserve better than that.

If you see yourself in anything written above, know that you have some work to do. Do an honest self-evaluation of people you have in your life who you have labelled as a friend, but really don’t feel like a true friend. Then make a decision about what you should do about the relationship. This will be a huge step towards creating balance in your life, business and relationships.

LAKESHIA EKEIGWE coaches women to create lives they LOVE.

 

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