Too many times in life we miss read the agendas of others out of love or longevity of the time in which we’ve known someone. We ignore the sly comments, inappropriate behaviors and outright disrespect that is being displayed because we want to keep the friendship intact or without causing a big scene. As a friend, your job is to remain supportive, open, and loyal to whatever it is that your friends are going through. Not judgmental, demeaning or negative towards them, their decisions, or how they decide to live there lives outside of you.
There are no specific requirements for a friendship however, I do believe that deep friendships often should share similar values that encourage healthy interactions, such as honesty and respect for one another, and good friends generally provide each other with emotional support as well as an outlet of comfortability.
What is Respect?
I find it kind of funny that I have to ask as well as define this question, but sadly enough some people are unaware of what it means to be respectful. No matter the type of relationship, showing respect is a sign of having a good upbringing and common understanding of people’s thoughts, feelings, and desires.
You have to give respect in order to get it, and it is something everyone deserves.
People who respect each other trust and support each other and value each other’s independence. They also have the freedom to be themselves, talk honestly and freely, and make decisions and compromises together. They respect boundaries and encourage each other to spend time with friends and family.
The best way to be respectful is by making sure you are respecting yourself. You should have opinions, express your opinions, and feel good about a relationship. You should not feel pressured to do something just because it seems like everyone else is doing it, or because someone else is trying to get you to do something. That’s wack!
Honesty and Trust
To have a friendship where you can be truthful no matter what the circumstances are is a relationship worth having. I often pride myself on being honest with my friends when tackling difficulties that we all face however, this was not always the case.
In the past, I struggled with being “too honest” in how I voiced my concerns when friends would make choices that I did not agree with. What I quickly realized when being brutally honest is that it did not matter whether I agreed with there decision making because it is not my life to live and the words that I choose to speak can sometimes hurt more than I could have imagined.
Without honesty and trust in a friendship, friends may find it difficult to share personal information with one another, and may not seek each other out for emotional support, leading to a narrower relationship which is difficult to navigate through over time. The most we can do for our friends is, to be honest, and trustworthy but in a loving way that is free of ridicule or backlash.
Showing Respect to Someone Who Has Hurt You
Acquaintances tend to come to a complete end once one or both parties cross the line. Creating healthy boundaries and fostering respectful interactions in relationships is what keeps any friendship going through thick or thin.
I talk about developing personal boundaries when cultivating romantic relationships in some of my previous blogs because it is important to make people aware of what you will tolerate.
In friendships, these same boundaries hold true because although platonic friendships and romantic relationships are completely different, how people handle you and how you handle others should be universally the same.
Showing respect to a friend who has hurt you may be difficult if feelings of hurt and betrayal are still on the surface. The key here is to do everything through love if the relationship still means something to you. There is no need to bad mouth or trash talk a friend who may have done you wrong, you never want your words to come back to haunt you or ultimately jeopardize further friendships in the future. Being genuine in your intentions with others is what makes friendships authentic over every bump along the road.
Creating Boundaries That Should Exist for All Friendships
While every friendship is different, there are certain things you must never do or say when you are friends with someone. These may include:
- No physically abusive behavior
- No emotional game playing
- No verbally abusive behavior
- Being gently honest with a friend versus bluntly hurting their feelings
- No gossiping behind your friend’s back
- No backstabbing or using a friend for your own personal gain
When you get past some of the widespread boundaries listed above, then it’s time to decide what you personally feel comfortable with. For example, I do not expect or feel the need to talk to my friends or s/o every day, but that does not mean that they feel the same way or expect that from me as a friend.
Generally, my friends and I are on the same page when it comes to personal boundaries and what we will allow, but sometimes you must remind people where you stand and that is okay. Boundaries may change over time due to lifestyle alterations, but with open communication, honesty, and trust, these conversations should be easy to have in the long-run.
Being able to successfully communicate is a skill that many people do not possess. One thing about me is that I am not afraid to face things head on and clear the air about any misconceptions that may have arisen during an argument. There are times where I feel like a friend may be acting funny or distance towards me, and I have no problem talking about it to get us back on the same page.
Sometimes my eagerness to point out the elephant in the room can cause tension within my friendships. More times than not, I believe that the cause for many fallouts is the lack of communication that people have amongst one another. Being able to effectively communicate your thoughts and feelings can be hard, but it must be done to come to a common understanding and respect for one another.
Healthy friendships are those where friends both talk and listen to each other. Communication should be respectful, truthful and considerate of others. When conflicts arise, you should be able to express your concerns without the fear of things getting too heated or turning violent.
During incongruities, be sure you remain calm enough to respectfully express your concerns. When friends become too angry to respectfully express themselves, inspire them to first calm down to ensure that they don’t say something they will later regret.
What does respect in friendships mean to you? Have you ever felt disrespected by your friends? How did you handle the situation?
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