7 Reasons Why You Don’t Have Better Friends Hint: It Might Be You

Rene Cizio

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You don’t have that many friends, or maybe yours aren’t as great as they could be? As we move further into the digital age, many of us have forgotten some of those kindergarten rules we learned, like treat others as you’d like to be treated, and the best way to have a friend is to be a friend, which holds true today more than ever.

Here are seven things you or your friends might be doing that are sabotaging your friendships.

You’re Only There For the Good Times

Many of us have friends that will show up for the parties but are nowhere to be found when the going gets tough. Part of being a real friend is being there even when it’s challenging to do so.

This means providing the tissues after the breakup, attending the funeral, commiserating after they don’t get the job they had their heart set on sending, or sending flowers after a beloved pet passes away.

Don’t know what to say? Cards are a relatively inexpensive and easy way to share the sentiment and they’ll do the talking for you. Anyone who has ever received a card during a difficult time – even if the sender did nothing more than address it and sign their name – knows how appreciated they are.

Real friends show up for the good times and the bad.

You Do All the Talking

Everyone knows these people. They don’t hear a word you say. You could confess murder to them, and they’d blithely continue telling you about the lady who cut in line at the grocery store last week. These people will tell story after story about themselves without ever pausing to let you get a word in edgewise. When they finally stop talking long enough to let you say something, it’s because they’re looking at their phones. As you talk, they’re waiting for you to finish so they can launch into their next story.

To these people, you are a sounding board. After time spent with them, you feel drained, disappointed, and frankly, used.

Friendships and conversations are about give and take. Neither side should be doing all of the talking or the listening. Dale Carnegie, one of the greatest communicators of all time, wrote extensively about this. He said the easiest way to become a good conversationist is to have an interest in others. How do you do that? By encouraging others to talk about themselves – listening, and asking questions. When’s the last time you did that?

Everything is Superficial

You only text and rarely see each other in person; when you get together, you only have time for quick chats and gossip. You don’t spend time learning their real thoughts and feelings on topics.

Remember when you were in high school, and you had what you thought were the best friends of your life? They probably were; that’s because you spent a lot of time with them, getting to know them intimately, learning everything about them.

We don’t have that kind of time as adults, but we must make it, in some small way, whenever we can if we want our relationship to rise above the superficial. One on one time will lead to more meaningful conversations that will deepen your relationship.

Jealously

It’s a scarcity mindset. Instead of being happy for their new relationship, job, home, etc. Your first thought is, “It should have been me” or “They’re doing ‘better’ ‘more’ ‘it’s happening faster’ for them.” You worry that because they got something, there is less for you.

Instead of giving them the safe space to bask in their momentary enjoyment, you dash it by adding your own or say, “That’s great,” and quickly move on to another topic. When we do this, our friend feels like they need to tamp down their joy a bit, so they don’t seem boastful or braggy or dwell too long on themselves.

Moments of joy – for all of us – are so seldom and fleeting, we must pause and savor them whenever we can. Let’s take the time to sit with our friends and celebrate.

Be the kind of person who cheers the loudest for their success – the more we share in the joy of others, the more abundance will come to us – it is the law of attraction.

You Think You’re the Center of the Universe

I hope you learned this as a child, but if not, allow me: You are not the center of the universe.

The simple reason people don’t have more friends is selfishness. One subset of selfishness is inconsiderate. It’s always about what they want to do and where they want to go, and if they don’t get their way, they make life difficult for everyone around them. In their mind, they’re the most important person.

But, in a friendship, as with any relationship, you are equally important. Being a friend sometimes means bending a little bit to accommodate someone else, doing something you might not have chosen yourself, or going out of your comfort zone.

It is because we are all different that the world is such an exciting place. Try letting someone else dictate the agenda to their preferences, and you might be pleasantly surprised; at the very least, you’ll learn something.

You Ignore Them in the Digital Space

We live much of our lives in the digital space and depend on it for many daily interactions. Some friends, though, use their “adversity” to digital media or busyness as an excuse for not texting back until days later, not liking your posts on social media, or perhaps not subscribing to your blogs or groups.

Every time we scroll past digital content or a message, we decide whether to engage with it. None of us are any busier than anybody else. We’re all “very busy” it’s about what we’re consciously prioritizing – and, if you’re not acknowledging their online content, you’re ignoring a significant part of them. After all, we know you’re on there; we see you watching our stories.

There is no cheaper, easier way to show support than online – likes are free to give. If you’re intentionally choosing not to, well, that’s a powerful message about how stingy you are as a friend.

You Don’t Support Them in Real Life

This means showing up. You have to show up to that baby shower, wedding, art show, or fundraiser whether it’s your cup of tea or not. Part of being a friend is just being there and supporting them in their endeavors, life events, and activities. Sure, you can’t be at everything every time, but gauge closely and be honest with yourself about when you’re showing up. It’s probably less often than you could or should.

Honestly, can’t be there? Again, cards are a relatively inexpensive and thoughtful way to share your support, encouragement, and well wishes.

Final Advice

Friendships are relationships, and relationships take time and effort. You will receive the friendships you deserve based on the effort you are putting in, and if you’re not – maybe it’s time for new friends.

Remember what Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

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Digital nomad, solo traveling full time. I write about travel, adventure, universal energy, and the journey through life. Pictures on Instagram @renecizio

Chicago, IL
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