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Special Discussion: Healthy Friendships

This month we are diving into a discussion about Healthy Relationships. The first part of this discussion is on healthy friendships. 

 

Best Friends Pinky Swear GIF by bea miller

 

One of the most important parts of life are the people we surround ourselves with. The friendships you make often reflect parts of your identity. Some friendships remind us of different parts of our life and some of our best memories Heart 

 

Some friendships don’t last long and others are hard to break. Healthy friendships can make us feel on top of the world and when a friendship is ending or changing it can really hurt. 

 

We wanted to create a space here to talk about what a healthy friendship looks like and how to respond if you feel a friendship of yours has become toxic. Feel free to get involved in adding to these lists 

 

Healthy friendships look like: 

  • Respecting each other's boundaries 
  • Appreciating each others differences 
  • Comfortable silences 
  • Great conversations 
  • Mutual support giving/receiving 

Unhealthy friendships look like: 

  • Jokingly teasing you 
  • Disrespecting your beliefs
  • Crossing important boundaries 
  • Taking and never giving 

 

Activity: 

 

Share a funny/happy memory you have with a good friend 

 

What do you think helps to expand your friendship circle? 

 

How do you cope with changing friendships?

                                                                                                   

Re: Special Discussion: Healthy Relationships

@Bre-RO  This is a great topic! I think the lists are really helpful.
Something I've also seen 'fake friends' do is that they just communicate with you to find out gossip, as opposed to actually offering to support you like a true friend. When my sister was in hospital, one of my neighbours came to our house. I thought she was coming to ask how I was doing and if I needed anything, especially as I was only leaving the house on weekends to go to the hospital because I was caring for my grandma, who had fallen. I also didn't have much prepared at home and often went hungry because I hadn't expected my sister to be hospitalised for so long. I was in the middle of explaining the situation when she started interrupting me with the most inane questions about my life choices and I felt like she only came to find out gossip and criticise me, which is not what I needed during that time.

Share a funny/happy memory you have with a good friend

Last year, we visited a family friend who had moved interstate. We went shopping together, sat together in a park and took lots of pictures. That memory stands out to me because it was before my sister got really sick. After that, a lot of our 'friends' abandoned us and we didn't get as much contact with people after that, but this friend still keeps in touch with us and supports us.

What do you think helps to expand your friendship circle?
I have made a lot of friends through volunteering and also getting to know the people who work in my local area. Joining a group of some sort, such as a fandom or a hobby group, can also expand your friendship circle. I used to make a lot of friends through playing the same video games.

How do you cope with changing friendships?
Something that has personally helped me is recognising that people can 'outgrow' each other. I've had to end a lot of friendships with people who were just using me or couldn't be bothered staying in touch. Writing about my feelings also helps me.

Re: Special Discussion: Healthy Relationships

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this @WheresMySquishy 

 

I think you've raised a really good point around fake friends pretending to support you to get gossip! I'm sorry to hear you've had experiences where you felt criticised, especially when you needed a friend Heart 

 

I'm happy to hear you have a friend who continues to support and keep in touch with you. 

Re: Special Discussion: Healthy Relationships

I am just going to tag a few more people who might be interested in this one Smiley Happy

 

@TidalDecade @Charlie22 @xXLexi_Lou122Xx @ecla34 @Hozzles @TaylaMH @rosiiboo96 @lokifish @I_am_not_Groot @ErinsAntics 

 

 

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Check out our community activities calendar for November 2019 here

Re: Special Discussion: Healthy Relationships

I might add my experience to this one too!

 

Share a funny/happy memory you have with a good friend 

Growing up I had a best friend who was so much fun. We both went to school together, played sport together and traveled everywhere (I often would ring her house phone forgetting that the number I dialed was not my house). 

 

I remember going on holidays together and have the best time on the enormous sand dunes, sliding down them together. 

 

What do you think helps to expand your friendship circle? 

Playing team sport has really helped me. I find meeting new people hard. It took me a year to build the courage but I joined sporting teams with people I didn’t know and that really helped! 

 

How do you cope with changing friendships?

I remember this; people come into your life for a purpose. That may be for a reason, a season or a lifetime. The challenge is letting that friendship move on, even when we want them to stay for longer Heart someone wise told me that this year and it is something I am going to try and live by 

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Check out our community activities calendar for November 2019 here

Re: Special Discussion: Healthy Friendships

What a good topic! Unfortunately, I don't believe I've had many healthy friendships in my life, so this is a bit of a sour topic for me Smiley Sad. Sometimes a toxic friendship can look healthy and be really fun, but once you're in a time of need they seem to criticise or disappear. The list of qualities of the different types of friendship is helpful and really accurate, I believe! I especially like the 'comfortable silences' one. I'm an introvert but I find it better when I'm recharging and relaxing in silence with someone that really understands me and is on my wavelength. I also feel this can apply to online friendships -- sometimes I lose contact with my online friends as life gets busy, but I love that I can pick up a conversation even after months of no communication and they will understand.

Share a funny/happy memory you have with a good friend.

One time, my friend went to a monthly event that they thought I would like to go to. Before inviting me to go, they went on their own first to make sure it was an environment I would feel comfortable with and wouldn't trigger my anxiety too much. It's just small things like this that mean so much to me.

 

What do you think helps to expand your friendship circle? 
I'm not sure, personally. I've tried almost everything (volunteering, hobby groups, online chats) but I really struggle to get close with people, past the causal acquaintance level. I think it definitely has something to do with the energy/ body language you're putting out -- if you look reserved and closed off people pick up on that and may not want to approach you, even if you're only doing it unconsciously as a defence mechanism. It's something I definitely am trying to work on. Smiley Sad

 

How do you cope with changing friendships?
Again, it's really hard for me as I don't have many friends. It's been hard in the past, but it helps to remind myself that sometimes it's for the best if the friendship was toxic or our values do not align in some way. Since a some of my current friendships have come from primary school, I've had to accept people grow and change through the years. Sometimes, the friendship can change from toxic to healthy as people grow!

Re: Special Discussion: Healthy Friendships

Hi @Hozzles and thank you for such an open and honest response to this special discussion, you have been so generous with sharing your experience and I am sure that so many people can relate Heart

 

I think you have made a few really good important points about toxic friendships. When you find people that share your values and understand you it can make for a strong friendship, but when that values base and understanding are missing it can be really challenging to maintain the friendship. You've mentioned that over the years you have felt a few friendships have become toxic, I would be interested to hear what you feel the key signs are that someone might be in an unhealthy friendship?

 

I also really admire what you have mentioned about trying to be more open/aware of body language with others- I can imagine that would take a really conscious effort to do Heart 

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Check out our community activities calendar for November 2019 here

Re: Special Discussion: Healthy Friendships

Thank you for the tag @Jess1-RO, and sorry I missed it last week.

1. A one of my memories with friends was just laughing with each other. But this was way before they backstabbed me, and made the friendship a toxic one. I have been through this multiple times.

2. I’ve never been good with expanding or even making friend circles. But I guess it’s like going on a journey to find hidden treasure. For me, I always looked in the wrong place for that treasure. I would think I found a beautiful gem, but really it was a lump of coal. Like @Hozzles said, some people can change from toxic to healthy, like coal can change into a diamond. This has never happened to me though. Really they’re a lump of coal anyway, even when you think you’ve polished the gem inside.
Honestly, I agree with @Jess1-RO and @WheresMySquishy. Volunteering, hobby groups and work places are all great ways to try and find new friends.
Sometimes even looking for people like you is better. I know that I’m a student who loves to learn and get things done, so when I found my lumps of coal weren’t really gems, I found a group of nerds like me. We all hang out every lunch, so that helps a lot. But uh... yeah, find new groups or things you like, and you can make friends.

3. I personally have never coped with friendships changing. All my past friends have left me by moving entirely out of the area, or backstabbed me.
Whenever my friend group changed, I would isolate myself, and become depressed. I would even sit alone at lunch crying.

I have otherwise learned other ways to cope, like going to the gym and getting rid of some of the sadness by doing weights or using the bikes. Drawing can also help, but I don’t recommend this one for myself.

Talking out sadness and anything else you may feel, is definitely something everyone needs to do. If they feel that is. My chaplain helped a lot, and she still does.

Sorry if this kind of sucks, but there’s my experiences... Smiley Happy

// Nothing is impossible. The word itself says “I’m Possible” //

Re: Special Discussion: Healthy Friendships

I also think that key signs for a potentially unhealthy friendship can be:
Not wanting to spend time with that friend.
As @Bre-RO out in the list, that friend not giving after taking.
There’s many more, but I have to get ready for school.

// Nothing is impossible. The word itself says “I’m Possible” //

Re: Special Discussion: Healthy Friendships

Share a funny/happy memory you have with a good friend 

I have so many, one that just popped into my head was from year 11/12 when my drama class went to Sydney to see the top Drama projects from the previous years' group. My friend and I were walking through one of the shopping complexes and we spotted this awesome display of mannequins and my friend wanted a photo with them, and as we went to take a photo the security guard came up and was like "no photo" and we ran out of there so quick it was hilarious! 😂

 

What do you think helps to expand your friendship circle? 

There's been some great ideas listed, which I'm going to look into.

Personally I have a small friendship circle and I prefer quality over quantity, but sometimes when they are busy I feel lonely. (Introverted problems)

 

How do you cope with changing friendships?

I try to remind myself that the important friendships and ones worth keeping will naturally keep ongoing. I've had friendships in the past only last for as long as there was a mutual connection, be it study, work etc. And that's okay, not everyone you become friends or acquaintances with will stay in your life forever Smiley Happy

 

I also love what @Jess1-RO said "people come into your life for a purpose" which is kind of what I'e touched on above Smiley Happy


Remember you're amazing just as you are Heart