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Healthy Friendships

It was Friendship Day two weeks ago! The day when we woke up to messages from our friends appreciating how much we mean to them. We also reciprocated the love, sending them sweet messages, and making them feel loved and valued.

Friendships are one of the first social relationships that we make outside of our familial ties. It is a place where we find laughter, compassion, support, happiness and so much more to fulfill us. Friendships like any other relationship involve conflicts that we may struggle to navigate and deal with, sometimes.

Friendships have always meant a lot to most of us, ever since we were little. Our days and all that we did, revolved around our friends - be it skipping school when your bench partner was sick, sharing snacks with them during breaks, and even finishing homework together. The list is never-ending. However, as we grow up, you might have noticed that the essence of friendship shifts from just having fun together to being each other's support systems. While a lot of us invest time and energy to maintain our familial and romantic relationships we often overlook friendships as an area that requires equal amounts of investment in terms of time and nurturance.

Here is a list of 10 markers of a healthy friendship. Take a moment to reflect on which of these are a part of your friendships and which ones you need to work on:

  • You are able to disagree with your friends and say no to them without feeling excessively guilty and scared of their reactions.

  • You are able to celebrate your friend's accomplishments and success with them, without constant comparison and feelings of jealousy.

  • You are able to express your needs openly in front of your friends and do not fear being judged by them for the same.

  • You don’t shame your friends for making mistakes and offer support when they are struggling and vice versa.

  • There is equal space for both of you. On some days your friend may require more space to speak about their problems and on some occasions, you may need that space.

  • You are each other's cheerleaders and push each other to become better versions of yourself!

  • You share feelings of happiness, pride, and joy but you also give equal importance to expressing feelings of anger, disappointment, and sadness in front of each other.

  • You resolve conflicts and issues you have with each other by talking about it between yourself instead of sharing it with a third person. PS: It is okay to take time to vent but be mindful of it becoming a pattern. If something about your relationship with your friend is bothering you, take your time to reflect on it but ensure you bring it up and resolve the

  • You set appropriate boundaries with them and allow them to set boundaries with you as well. These boundaries could be around the amount of time you spend with each other, ways in which you can show up for each other, and your expectations from the friendship, to name a few.

  • You both have support systems outside of each other as well. While healthy friendships mean being able to fall back on each other sometimes, our friends may not be able to meet all our needs. It’s important to have a broader support system to rely on, instead of expecting one friend to meet all your needs and expectations.

Remember, healthy friendships are like rare jewels that enrich our lives. They lift us up, provide solace, and bring endless joy. As you nurture these connections, may you find a garden of beautiful relationships that continue to bloom and flourish.

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