Being a Great Friend is About Great Communication

Apr 24, 2017 | Leadership | 0 comments

We all want to be surrounded and supported by amazing friends. Being a great friend is about great communication. As we get older, our circle of close friends tends to get tighter and tighter. Therefore when we are not mindful of our communication, we risk losing these friendships.

There are many great lessons about friendship that I have learned over the past 4 decades of my life. Being someone who didn’t always have a lot of friends, I’m very grateful to have so many amazing friends in my life now.

So what is the one thing to do to be an amazing friend? The key is to make it about the other person. I believe that we mistakenly go into a relationship believing that it’s all about us. However, that usually doesn’t work. When we focus on the other person in a relationship, both people end up getting much more out of the relationship than if each person were simply focused on themselves.

Here’s what I mean: You have texted your friend and haven’t heard back from them for days. Your first instinct may be to assume that they are ignoring you or that you’ve done something wrong without knowing it. This lack of communication often what creates issues in our relationships.

What if we turned the tables and looked at it from their perspective? Is it possible that they are completely swamped with work, kids, family or other obligations that take priority right now? Maybe they have just received some bad news and aren’t ready to share it. Or perhaps they want to text you back but don’t remember until late at night when they are tucked into bed, and they don’t want to disturb you. I know that this has happened to me on many occasions.

Communication was something I struggled with as a child, and I did not have a lot of friends due to my inability to communicate properly. I never felt like I fit in and I found myself on the outside many, many times.

I believe when most of us look back now, we’ve all felt like this at some point. At the time, it doesn’t feel very good. I remember a summer job I had while I was at University, I was working at a sports camps for kids. And at that time in my life, I couldn’t run. Being a sports camp, the other instructors were all athletes who could also run well. We were meant to run with the kids several times a week as part of the program. I was assigned to the track to supervise the children who had special needs or difficulty running and although I love it, I got teased and made fun of because I couldn’t run.

The truth is, I was scared to communicate and share why I couldn’t run at the time. I was embarrassed and chose to endure the teasing rather than try to build relationships and make friends.

One of the blessings of this time in history is that thanks to social media, and more specifically Facebook, it’s easier to stay connected to more people. I have more friends now than I have ever had in my life and I’m not talking about the 2000+ ‘friends’ I have on my friends list. What I have found is that I have relationships with more and more incredible people thanks to Facebook. Since my family lives across the country, having Facebook allows us to feel like we are more a part of each other’s daily lives. It makes communication much easier.

And lastly, change your expectations to appreciation. This last tip to be being an amazing friend I learnt from Tony Robbins. 

You and I both know that when we have expectations from others, there is an opportunity to be let down. When we shift to appreciation and gratitude for that person, the way we treat them and our relationship changes overnight. The reason behind most broken relationships is because one person had expectations that the other person didn’t meet. Always assume that the other person is doing the best they can at any given moment and you will find that it’s much easier to let go of expectations.

Being a great friend is about great communication, and I’ve found this to be the foundation for all of my other relationships as well. Communication is a skill and it takes time to learn how to become a great communicator. After completing the 30+ hour Art of Communication course with Tony Daum, a John Maxwell Certified Coach, I feel as though I have improved my communication skills. And I also know that this will be something to work on every day of my life.

What do you find most difficult about communication? What tends to get you into trouble?

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