Amanda Viviers | 98five bloggers
Friendship is a word that is laden with so much angst. It is one part of our life that’s completely ‘brutiful’. Many parts beautiful and so much brutal. Conflict, unmet expectations, loneliness, and cliques.
Lately, I have been reflecting on what friendship means as I step into my forties and changes are afoot.
Fewer expectations, more spontaneity
As a Mum and a wife, I have realised in this season friendship needs to carry less expectation and more spontaneity. Friendships that carry expectations, like “Why haven’t you called?”, “Why wasn’t I invited?”, “Why are you not spending time with me?” are being re-prioritised for friendships that are full of encouragement, life and “I know we haven’t spoken for ages, but how are you?”
Less criticism, more accountability
Honestly, it is easy to sit in a conversation with someone you know well and become the critic. Comparing one another is rife in conversations between women and when we sit in the space of judgment and thinking we know better, the friendship becomes toxic and decays. These days I am searching and keeping friends who want to criticise less and be honest a whole lot more. I want and need friendships that are accountable. Ones that have the courage to say, “Amanda, you can do this” and also ones that are honest enough to say this conversation is not healthy for either of us.
Less intensity, more fun
Back in the day, I was a clown. Funny jokes, dance parties, cookie bake-offs were my jam. Lately, in the pursuit of meaning and inspiration, I have become a little intense. Bring back the movie-going, coffee-planning, the hangout-loving friend of my twenties. Dance a little, smile a whole lot and bring back the playful you.
Less waiting, more contacting
I have realised if I play the victim and hold a list of who has contacted me when, I would have fewer friends. If I think of someone, I message them. If I have an idea or encouragement, I contact the friend. Do you hold account of how many times you made the first move in a friendship? Are you always wondering whether you are being used? When we sit in the seat of the accountant in the friend contacting game, we will always loose. Contact, text, call and extend. With no expectation of return.
Less talking, more listening
Friendships can easily be ruined by too much conversation. Can you sit in silence with a friend? Do you fill the voids with so much information that the listener is overwhelmed? Do you have an answer for everything? What if our goal in friendship was to listen more and vent less? What if we became such amazing listeners that people desperately wanted to be around us?
Less whining, more encouraging
The most enjoyable people to be around are those who sit in the seat of the cheerleader. Competition can be cancer to friendships and when we spend time competing with our friends rather than championing their best, we both loose. The thought ‘I’ll have what she is having’ is one of the worst phrases on friendship that could have ever been invented.
Less assuming, more letting go
Social media is a scourge on our friendship cultures. We see a post, we read into the messages communicated and BAM! we have landed in assumption. Many times lately, I have had people speak about assumptions they have concocted from social media rather than the truth. After a quick conversation, it is funny to realign what people have assumed about my life and what is the reality. This year I am committing to assume less and let go more. Believing the best is the most amazing way to sit in the place of friendship. If a friend says she is unavailable — “She’s busy” — that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hang out with you, let that thought go.
Less insecurity, more passion
When we find our own passions and we place ourselves in a space of acceptance, we become much easier friends to be around. When we access every conversation and interaction from a place of self-acceptance, self-compassion and future-focused opportunity, we become great friends. When we are secure about our voice, our purpose and our passions, when we spend time with other like-minded women, we don’t spend the whole time we are together re-framing the sense of worth in the conversation. The more we come from a foundation of love and acceptance about ourselves, the more people will gather alongside.
Less copying, more individuality
Do you allow your friends the autonomy of being different? Do you love them fiercely, but let them have the space to explore their own wisdom for each season? This is the tension of great culture in friendships. When we expect our friends to react the same way, to think the same as us or to feel the same way, we will constantly be disappointed. How do you release friends into their new? Do you try to hold them back out of fear of the unknown? Less co-dependence, more release. We need to hold our friends lightly and allow them to explore new friends, new opportunities and new experiences. With a flavour and individuality that is completely their own. We need to release those closest to us to explore with freedom. When we demand loyalty to the point of stifling friendships out of fear of rejection, we crush the very essence of friendship, which is trust.
Less fake moments, more authenticity
Authenticity is the catch cry of the last few years and may fill your heart with dread but when we commit to less fakeness and more honesty, the true colour of friendship is revealed. Can you listen to a friend who is revealing their heart without taking on their feedback as an offense? I have often told myself this phrase, “Amanda, offense is a choice”. I have realised I have a choice in the way I respond to others’ behaviour. Sometimes in friendship we can care way too much and hold onto the expectations that can keep us captive. If we want more true, long-lasting, honest friendships we need to be honest and we need to keep short accounts in our offense banks. Each and every time we forgive and we let go, not allowing bitterness to become the paint that we colour friendships with, we all win.
These are some random musings on friendship, this February afternoon.
What would be your less or more statements around friendship?
Amanda is a writer, speaker, creative coach, wife of Charl and novice Mum to Maximus and Liberty. She’s published three books and can be found in her beach shack, writing her fourth. Her daily blog is a Christian Media & Arts Australia best digital media project award winner. Amanda is a presenter on radio across New Zealand and Australia and is the co-founder of Kin Women; a network created to inspire women. Along with her husband, she is co-owner of surf brand, Maximus and Liberty. They manufacture surfboards, stand up paddle-boards and merchandise to fund youth surfing projects globally. Driven by a passion for social justice, Amanda loves supporting projects for children in developing countries. Teaching children to live creative lives, beyond the circumstances, is something she pursues daily. www.amandaviviers.com | Follow Amanda on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest