Have you ever looked forward to a chick-chat with a friend or been excited to open an email from a gal pal you look forward to hearing from only to get dumped on as if you are a garbage can for their troubles and complaints? A good friend conversation whether face-to-face, phone or email should leave you feeling positive, happy and supported as opposed to many that leave us feeling that with friends like that, who needs enemies.
When I chat with my girlfriends, I immediately look forward to the next time so I want to share what we've done to ensure a strong foundation since a gal pal relationship can be one of the most powerful in your life when built correctly.
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As we talked about in Got Girlfriends? How To Make Quality Gal Pals, it’s important to become the type of person you want to attract to a friendship. However, without guidelines for your communication, we can often default into sharing negative things with our friends because we feel so comfortable with them.
Of course it’s okay to share less-than-positive stories, concerns and challenges so we want to establish some boundaries we can all agree on to ensure each conversation leaves us feeling upbeat rather than beat up.
Creating a lasting friendship takes some effort and is completely worth every speck of time and thought you put into it.
5 Tips For Creating Quality Conversations And Friendships:
1. Enter into friendship with a clear intention to invest in making it positive. We’ve all had friendships we ultimately wanted to run from instead of toward when we needed a friend. These are toxic and even the most positive women can stumble into a disempowering conversation on occasion. Just like a dating situation, we must be ready and willing to build a strong foundation for our friendship or it will fall, like a skyscraper built on sand.
2. Establish and enforce relationship boundaries. The key is to have already established a gentle way of bringing it to the friend’s awareness (establishing relationship boundary) and embarking on a more positive path (enforcing boundary) by saying something like, “Let’s take this is a more empowering (or positive) direction. What did this trigger in you and how can you learn from it?” If you have quality gal pals, chances are you attracted them into your life by being one yourself. You’ve done the personal growth where you recognize everything that happens to us is a direct reflection of something we need to work on within ourselves.
3. Do your due diligence before venting to your friend. This means if that before you vent to a friend, do your own work to figure out solutions you can run by her for her feedback. Most friendships that have issues are built of women simply saying whatever is on their mind at the time. Although this is easy and commonplace, new and better habits are important to build for positive, lasting friendships.
Since our fulfillment and inner power come from within us, not from other people, we are going to have to decide for ourselves what to do in the end, regardless of other opinions. If there’s a negative situation or person polluting your life, mind or emotions, the last thing you should want to do is share that pollution with someone you care about, right? I know, we are so accustomed to doing it that we don’t notice anymore. This has to do with taking responsibility for our lives and everything in them.
My suggestion is to journal. Grab a pad and write down: what’s going on; how you feel about it; if there’s anything you can do about it; and what it’s showing you about yourself. For example, jealousy is about our own self esteem and worthiness. Anger may be fear of past hurts recurring - what is the past hurt this new situation triggers? After you write down the situation and what it brings up in you, your chick chat will go in a powerful direction. You may feel successful in solving it yourself. You will likely have less to discuss with your friend because you came to the awareness that some of it wasn’t as important as first thought and other things are out of your control.
Discuss what happened, how it inspired you to feel and what you’ve learned from it. Your quality gal pal will be able to listen, add feedback and learn from it as well. This is a much more powerful, positive and bonding conversation than just dumping on your friend because she’s there.
4. Ask permission before discussing challenges with a friend. When you need to vent or have a discussion or brainstorm ask your friend when a good time is for her. She may need 10 minutes or two hours to wrap something up so she can give you her full attention.
If you just call her out of the blue or even email your rant, venting or issue, you could catch her at a time when she isn’t feeling as strong as she’d like to be and your communication may disempower her. You may even find that she needs to discuss a situation of hers and it's more pressing than yours. You’re there to be her friend too so you may end up listening and be very glad you didn’t dump on her without permission. You can establish a funny way to ask like, “Are you open for 3 minutes of ventilation?” Limit venting to 3-4 minutes and use the rest of the time you have to discuss solutions, a new awareness about yourself and how to better manage this situation should it happen in the future.
Add humor to your relationship (like the 3 minutes of ventilation) especially on challenging days (without belittling the situation - trust your gut on this). In some cases, adding humor will completely dissolve the issue because it was a mood thing and the mood has changed.
You both must be willing to be truthful and ask for and respect the other's answer. Does it hurt when you get a "no" or "unless it's an emergency, can we chat after work?" Yes, it stings for a second but that's just ego and triggers of past rejection. This respect and honesty build the foundation for a strong friendship so you know she is acting in the best interest of both of you. It isn't always easy but it's certainly always worth it!
5. Always follow up with a thank you. Your appreciation for your quality friendship and the specific characteristics you love most about each other will take you far and overrule many challenges that may have surfaced had the appreciation not been spoken. So make a point to tell one another what you appreciate. “I appreciate your perspective and it inspires me to look for other ways to look at things.” Or “I love how you can put your day aside for ten minutes to help me get through something and completely shift my energy.”
Remember that your quality gal pals may outlast romantic relationships so treasure them! Also, you can improve romantic relationships by implementing these respectful tips you use with your girlfriends.
Now, you have a great way to make quality gal pals and have 5 tips to ensure communication is going to leave you feeling upbeat instead of beat up.
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For more support in creating healthy friendships and relationships, visit Positive Women Rock to grab your FREE weekly Positive Woman Tip along with a free (short) eBook and audio book entitled, "Women: 5 Mistakes We Make That Give Our Power Away" and I will see you there!
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