Given it is the beginning of a new year, it’s important to take an inventory of the people in your life, who you have given your time and attention to, and who may no longer be serving you. I highly recommend doing this!
In identifying who your true friends are, you may wish to consider assigning people to categories related to the weather. I find this very helpful!
We’ve all heard the expression ‘fair-weather friend’, in reference to the type of person that is your best pal until something troublesome happens in your life, inviting their support, and all of a sudden they’re like, “SEE YA!”
These types of friends are pretty easy to spot; but the good news is, they usually travel in packs with other ‘fair-weather peeps’. It’s as if they have an understanding with their group of friends, like, “if you don’t expect anything from me, I won’t expect anything from you.” And so they live happily ever after, pretending that the world is perfect, and that people have no flaws, especially them, of course. Or at least, nothing that a few drinks and a distracting sports game can’t fix.
This type of friend is even more of a waste of your time. While ‘fair-weather’ friends are at least fun to hang out with, ‘stormy-weather’ friends only make plans with you when they are down-and-out and/or looking to have their own needs met. They just can’t seem to spend enough time with you, repeating the same series of sob-stories over and over, asking for your advice, but never taking it. Until, one day, they do, and everything starts to improve in their lives. This is typically the point at which you no longer hear from them.
Nobody likes to be the first person to be called during a crisis, and the last person to be called for a celebration. ‘Stormy-weather’ friends also shy away from reciprocal venting. You know, the kind you have with a normal friend…where you take turns sharing your struggles, giving each other ample time to be heard and commiserating together? If you try that give-and-take business with a ‘stormy’, chances are they will all of a sudden need to be somewhere else, get off the phone, or just not respond to your emails or text messages.
They will usually go MIA to give you ample time to seek real support from someone other than them, and pop up again hoping you’ve forgotten about your own needs, and can get back to being there for them.
Just like the tires, ‘all-weather’ friends are the most reliable and safe, regardless of rain or shine. These are the people you want to surround yourself with. ‘All-weather’ friends are trustworthy, reliable, consistent, supportive, vulnerable, imperfect, compassionate, loving, and above all, selfless. You know you have a healthy friendship, when both people give each other the same level of attention and support.
There are times when two friends are both down in the dumps at the same time, and it takes self-awareness and compassion from both people to assure that neither person feels let down.
Remember: Every exchange you have with a friend is an opportunity to build trust, or, to break it down.
Cheers to happy and healthy friendships in 2013!