IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO GROW AN OLD FRIEND.
~ John Leonard
Most of us have strong beliefs about what friendships are all about, yet we don’t take the time to examine the assumptions underlying those beliefs. Not that there’s anything wrong with assumptions — it’s just wise to be aware of when and where we hold them. It’s wise, because not everyone believes the same things, and that difference in belief systems is usually a source of misunderstandings.
For example, if you believe a true friend is always there for you when you need him, and a friend is unable to meet that expectation, you may feel hurt or betrayed. Your friend, on the other hand, may have felt that what you asked was beyond what he could do, and you should have known that. He, then, reacts defensively to your expression of hurt, and … well … the rest is history.
This week’s journaling prompts are designed to help increase awareness of your belief systems about the complicated topic of friendship.
- Complete the following statement: A true friend is …
Explain why you think this is true. When might this not be true?
- Write about the sources of your beliefs about friendship: family of origin, experiences as a child, religious beliefs, literature, anything you can think of that has helped to form your beliefs about the nature of friendship.
- How important are friends in your life, and in what ways have they influenced you (positively or negatively)?
- A good friendship has just the right balance of intimacy and distance. Write about what you feel is the “right” amount of intimacy and what is the “right” amount of distance. Who in your life has fulfilled this balance and who has not? What do you perceive to be the differences in their personalities and approaches to life? How are they similar or dissimilar to yours?
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: I have a lot of good friends — we know we can depend on each other in time of need. Freewrite for ten minutes about your response.
- In what ways are your adult friendships different than friendships you had as a child? In what ways are they the same?
- If you could do life over again, would you do anything different in terms of your friendships and/or the effort you apply to friendships? Write about the reasons for your answer.
What do you think about friendship and friends? And have these prompts helped you to clarify your thoughts about this subject? Leave a comment below.
Image Credit: Trina Alexander