When looking for love, there's no better training than having a best friend. It's in our friendships that we really learn about love, and hone the skills needed to be someone's romantic partner for life. Women have argued with me that because they presently don't have a boyfriend, they can't work on their relationship skills. They feel they have to have a man in their life to "practice on."
While having a man to interact with is helpful, it's really best if we take care of our issues and learn to resolve conflicts before we get involved in a romance. However, many of us believe that a relationship with a boyfriend is too different from our other relationships to make friendships good learning grounds. That's not entirely true.
Let's look at some common areas in which we may need help before we meet The One. Many of us deal with the fear of abandonment, the inability to speak up for ourselves, or the tendency to give too much of ourselves in a relationship. If we work on these issues with our boyfriend or a man we've just started dating, they can be a barrier to love. And this difficulty will be multiplied if the man has his own problems to work out as well. When we don't do the work before we meet the guy, our relationships will have a lot of ups and downs and a lot of unnecessary drama.
So doesn't it seem much better to learn the skills we'll need for a long lasting relationship from a best friend? Of course it does! I think we can agree that with our best friends we're less judgmental, more forgiving and more flexible than we tend to be with our love lives. This is, in part, because we don't feel we have as much at stake (despite how untrue that may be). How we treat anyone in our lives has everything to do with our ability to love.
Here are three ways our best friends can help us with our boyfriends:
1. We can learn better communication skills by being more truthful and authentic. This is easier with our friends because we know they value us and easily accept who we are.
2. We can learn to "let go" with a best friend and not be so clingy. We can lessen the fear that just because someone isn't always around, it doesn't mean they don't love us.
3. We can learn to be more accepting, because God knows, our friends are not exactly like us. They do things we'd never do, say things we'd never say and think things we'd never think. Yet, we accept these differences and don't try to change them. We actually enjoy their "foibles" and don't take them personally.
There is no one better than a good gal pal to teach us about love. They can also make us aware of how good things could be in our love lifes if we didn't "overreact" with men! We'll never get over all our fears and problems, but we will be able to lessen and control them. When you enter into a romantic relationship, instead of wasting time in the ups and downs and drama, we'll be using the time for what really feels good — for love.
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