The other night I was having a really important conversation with my daughter. She is 9 years old and she was very excited to receive a phone call that evening from her fellow classmate inviting her to play at her house for the very first time. Her face literally lit up after having received the invitation. I was happy for her, but felt a bit uneasy, as if she was too excited and it made me wonder whether or not my daughter was selling herself a bit too short. Was she aware of her own incredible qualities, I wondered, and of what kind of relationships she deserved? My daughter’s over-excitement made me wonder if my daughter was judging her own self worth on whether or not this or that person included her in their personal circle. Which is why I chose to bring up a conversation about friendship at bedtime.
I asked her who she was friends with in her class. She went on to tell me how each of her classmates had paired off to form ‘best friendships’. When I asked her who her best friend was, she told me the name of a girl that I knew, one that I also felt did not treat her very respectfully all of the time. So I continued the conversation with my daughter by pointing out what qualities I saw in her. I told her (and showed her with examples) how thoughtful, caring, kind, intuitive, sensitive, energetic, and fun she was. She smiled as I reminded her of these qualities.
In order to know what you deserve, first get to know yourself!
This was my way of helping her to first recognize who she was before I went on to ask her what kind of friend she was looking for and felt she deserved. I did this on purpose, as I do with the individuals I work with and help in my own private work. In order to begin to understand and explore what we ourselves are looking for or feel that we deserve in our relationships, we must first have a good understanding of who we are. So, when I asked my daughter whom she felt was a good fit for her based on who she is and based on what she felt she deserved, she mentioned the names of a few girls in her class and the other class in her grade and told me about their qualities and what she liked about them.
Now, get proactive, and go and get what you deserve!
Once my daughter and I figured out who she would like to be friends with, I explained to her that we had to be proactive and do something in order to start and build our relationships. “Relationships don’t just form on their own,” I explained “we have to create them and build them.” I showed her how this was true in my own relationship with my husband (her dad.) I gave her examples of how me and her abba (Hebrew for father) make time for each other, send each other thoughtful texts or emails, and check-in with each other by phone just to say that we are thinking of each other during the day, and make an effort to be present with each other when we are together.
I then asked her what she could do to let someone know that she wants to be friends with them. She thought of perhaps writing a nice note to a fellow classmate that she liked. She also thought it would be a good idea to simply ask them if they wanted to play with her during recess.
Interestingly enough, what did come out of this ‘proactive’ conversation was important information about whom she referred to as her current ‘best-friend.’ My daughter said that she recently wrote a nice note to this ‘friend’ about what she liked about her, and that this ‘friend’ wrote something nasty back to her. “Hmm. Maybe she is not a good friend,” she thought. “I could still be nice to her, but maybe not best friends with her.”
So, what can we all learn from this important conversation about friendship and how to choose friends, potential business partners, and even intimate partners that are good for us, and that we deserve?
Here are 4 steps to follow:
Get to know who you really are, (i.e. what your qualities and values are.) This will also give you insight and clarity about what your boundaries are and what you are and are not willing to compromise on.
Think about the qualities and values and the type of people you want to surround yourself with.
Make a list of the people in your life who share these qualities and values. These people might be in your current circle of friends already, or they might be people you have met or come across at other times in your life.
Get proactive and let these people know how you feel about them and that you are interested in enriching your relationship with them. Do it your way and in the way you feel most comfortable with.
If you have any questions about any of these steps, please feel free to contact me anytime.
You can also download my NEW Ebook to learn more tools about how you can get more of what you want and deserve in your career, dating and relationships.