Today I want to speak to you about friendships. Many of you have contacted me with a feeling of despair. Some of you have to even expressed that you feel as though you do not have good friends. So today I am going to address the things that can harm a friendship or any relationship, with the hope of shedding some light on the issues.

I am going to share with you real life experiences. So let’s start with case study number one.

Jane doe calls her friend Patty to see how patties doing. Jane says “hi Patty how are you?” Without Jane getting another word in Patty proceeds to spend the next 30 minutes talking about herself and her problems. When Patty is done she tells Jane she has to go and hangs up the phone. Do you see what’s wrong with this picture? Patty’s communication is all about her. She builds relationships based on the me, me, me concept. Patty may not be doing this on purpose but it is affecting her relationships. Now Patty comes to me and says “I talk to a lot of people but I don’t feel like I have close friends. It feels like none of them want to open up to me”. This my friend is a classic example of what happens when a friend feels undervalued. What Patty does is what I call the dump session.

If you build your communication and relationships using the dump method, it will be very hard to cultivate deep meaningful relationships. When you dump on people consistently the person with whom you’re trying to build a relationship eventually closes off and build the wall. It leaves that person feeling as though you only care about yourself. This is why it’s very important that we’re conscious about how we’re communicating with those we care about. Poor communication as you saw in case study number one is the factor contributing to the deterioration of this friendship. It is also this thing hindering Patty from making the kind of friends she wants.

How can you fix this problem? If you are in Jane’s shoes talk to Patty let Patty know exactly how this is affecting your relationship. Don’t be condemning, just let Patty know that you do care about her and you want to hear about her day, but that you simply don’t appreciate the dump session. Odds are Patty is just so excited to share all of the new things going on in her life that she’s forgetting how to communicate effectively.

Come up with the way that both you and Patty can develop effective Communications and hold each other accountable. If you are Patty, I recommend that once in a while when Jane calls you rather than responding to Jane’s question of how are you with all of your day’s events, simply respond with “I am doing great thank you for asking” and then proceed to ask Jane “how are you doing? Tell me about your day?” This will show Jane that you’re genuinely interested in hearing about her life. It is important that when you ask Jane this question you truly are interested in hearing about her life. People can tell right away when you’re not interested in what they have to say. It’s not what you say but rather what you’re thinking that they can feel. They can feel what you think through your actions.

Another tip to help build those relationships and make them strong is to make sure you’re giving them undivided attention. That means the conversation that you’re having with your friend  is not constantly being interrupted by the phone,  social media, or other people that may be in the room with you. No one wants to talk to somebody who’s not paying attention. It honestly makes most people feel like they’re wasting their time and air. This tip right here is not just important with friends but also important with family, your spouse, and your children. It’s even a useful tool at work.

Also make sure that when you’re listening, you’re listening with the intent to hear the person’s heart and what they’re trying to convey. Avoid listening with the intentions of crafting a clever response or a good defense for your cause. Doing this just builds an even greater wall. My friends give each other grace and allow each other room to grow. We will all make mistakes in relationships, the important part is that we work hard on making them right. Working together on these issues only makes a relationship stronger. Correct each other in love not out of entitlement. That is how you build a bond the last a lifetime.

I would love to hear what you have to say about this topic, or what you have to ask that could help somebody else in this very same situation. Join the conversation! Leave your comment in the comment section below.