Are you a low stress friend?
I was inspired to write this because I’ve been exploring how I show up as a friend and areas where I’m not showing up.
I did a podcast episode on friendship and it really changed my perspective.
For one thing, I found out that researchers have studied friendship styles, which would explain how some people’s approach to friendship differs from another person’s style.
Then I ended up creating a project for myself to engage with people, especially meeting new people.
During the pandemic, I crawled tight inside my little shell. I loved it.
A long time passed before me, a super introverted person, started to realize how lonely I was feeling.
Part of this was realizing that some of my friendships had grown apart naturally, as they sometimes do.
Several of my friends relocated and our quarterly lunch dates weren’t an option any more.
Sometimes friendships fell into occasional texts because we didn’t have work stories to bind us together.
But I found that one major reason my social circle had changed was my desire to form connections with different types of people. The kinds of things I want to talk about are different now than they would have been a few years ago.
I started to reflect on what self-concept I wanted to have as someone’s friend.
What kind of friend was I? And what kind of friend do I want to be?
Professionally, I help people reduce stress in their lives to make more room for fun.
It was time for me to take my own medicine, socially speaking.
That’s when I had the playful idea of deciding to be a low stress friend.
I want my friendships to feel meaningful and safe – low stress.
I want my friendships to be about exchanging ideas and being silly – low stress.
While thinking about the friendships I want to nurture, I started to shift my thinking from what I wanted to get from my friendships and started to include more intention about what I could offer others when I’m their friend.
So…what does being a low stress friend mean to me?
I’m not entirely sure yet! 😂
For today, here’s how I define being a low stress friend:
- My “yes” is real. I don’t say yes out of obligation. If I want to, I’ll say yes. If I don’t want to take up an invite, I’ll say no.
- I don’t have expectations for communication style or frequency. I’ll reach out when I’m thinking about you without expecting a response in return.
- I am working on being a better listener. Yes, I’m a coach so I have the skill of deep, deep listening when in my sessions. Now I’m trying to incorporate better listening in personal conversations without people feeling like they’re being coached.
- I’m just here for you for whatever you’re able and willing to bring to the relationship. I’m not here to judge or offer fixes. I’m really trying to learn the art of offering unconditional love in a friendship connection at a deeper level.
- I won’t overthink things. I have been an overthinker in the past and it’s just heavy. I’m going to pay more attention to actions than intentions, both mine and the ones of my friends.
This area of my life is a work in progress.
Part of the challenge is making it a priority to find new groups, nurture the seedlings of new friendships, and take risks in how I show up (aka run experiments).
I am hoping to create new kinds of friendships, ones that are both lighter and deeper, if that makes sense.
I’ve changed in recent years. It’s exciting to imagine what kinds of friendships I’ll attract and create in the coming years.
Feel free to comment with your reactions to this topic. What kind of friend do you like to be…and why?
P.S. I invite you to fall in love with the “Less Stress, More Fun” podcast. Subscribe today! Each week’s episodes offer smart, fun ideas to reduce stress and boost your sense of playfulness.